It is an amazing thing the persistence of Jesus. But we should have expected it. He called Himself the Good Shepherd. And He told stories about the shepherd searching for his sheep. He is persistent, doing all kinds of little things in our lives that we hardly even notice.
So one day a friend was talking to me. Gub was his nickname. He said, "There was a time when I was young that I didn't want anything to do with Church. I wanted to get out and do my own thing, and when I had to go to church I wasn't too happy about it. But Pastor always was glad to see me, and greeted me and knew who I was. He didn't ask why I hadn't been there for a while, just was happy to see me." Gub was an elder in the Church when we had that conversation. Looking back on it now I'm thinking "Breadcrumbs."
You know the story. Hansel and Gretel, leaving home going off into the woods, but one of them leaving a trail of breadcrumbs so they can find their way home. For them it didn't work because birds came and ate the breadcrumbs -- but still it forms an image in our minds. "Breadcrumbs."
Jesus has to deal constantly with our wandering off, not paying attention, getting fascinated with anything and everything else. He searches for us, finds us, calls us, and leads us back.
How He has done that in each life would be absolutely the most amazing thing to know. All of the little hints, nudges, reminders and so on. A little word that suddenly grabs our attention, and we don't even know why. A little piece of a Bible verse that we heard years and years ago, suddenly fills our memory. A kindness done by a Christian that we once admired, and hadn't thought about for a long, long time, touches us once again.
"Breadcrumbs" laid down by Jesus, gently nudging and reminding us that we may have forgotten but He has not. Still calling and inviting, "I want you to be with Me. I want you in My Kingdom. I want you sharing this living forever." (See John 17:24) And the Good Shepherd calls.
Deep inside we know His voice. And even if there has not been anything dramatic in our spiritual life for a while we know that voice. Very quietly, very subtly, He is calling. (See 1 Kings 19:11-12) And we know in the call of the Shepherd that it is good to hear and follow.
There are times in life when we need that assurance a lot. This is one of them. He calls deep inside, and then He tells us that we know it is Him calling. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27) There is a certain audacity to it; telling us that we know it is Him. But that is the honesty of a relationship that He has been building for many years.
How long has He been laying out these "Breadcrumbs" in our lives, laying out the trails that always lead us back to Him? How long does He do the work of the often unseen, unknown and unappreciated Friend? And still He persists, because He does want us sharing His eternity.
Lord Jesus, my friend, thank You for all the ways You have been my truest friend. Thank You for all the nudges, quiet reminders, and little ways that You have reminded me of the truth of You being in my life. Thank You for being persistent, calling me Your friend. Lead me on so one day we can celebrate forever. Amen.