God reaches me and teaches me through parables. Something in stories and metaphors opens me to greater depths of understanding. The Parable of the Lost Sheep calls to mind not only my wanderings but how God’s love fought for me until I was found.

In Luke 15, Jesus told The Parable of the Lost Sheep:

4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

If I’m honest, the idea of a Lost Sheep doesn’t make me initially think of a Shepherd, good or otherwise. That’s a pretty telling notion now that I see it spelled out. Maybe that’s the root of where I went wrong.

The concept of a Lost Sheep initially makes me question: What happened to the Sheep? Why did it get lost in the first place? Was it led astray? If you tell me there’s a Sheep I assume there is a Wolf who is after the Sheep. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the wolf is in sheep’s clothing.

That is how my own story plays out. In this cast, the “Lost Sheep” is played by Yours Truly, the “Good Shepherd” is played by Jesus, and the “Wolf” is played by The Life Thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy (aka Diet Culture).

One Lost Sheep a story of reckless love

The song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury brought The Parable of the Lost Sheep to life for me. I love the live version of this song where he unpacks the verse and shares the inspiration for the lyrics.

This song really helped me to reflect on how God’s reckless love chased me, one lost sheep, down. When I was lost and alone on the dark edge of a disordered eating cliff, His love found me. His love tore down the lies of Diet Culture and brought me home to Him.

{At Rise}

Once I was a sheep in the flock. I had a nice pasture to graze in. Life was peaceful and easy. I was happy, safe and where I was meant to be: with my fellow sheep being looked after by the Good Shepherd.

One day I saw a wolf approaching in the distance. I felt the wolf’s eyes on me. I thought the wolf had singled me out as the weak one who did not belong with the other sheep. I was gripped with fear.

The shepherd stood between the wolf and the flock as a shield so the wolf could come no closer. Even though the wolf was blocked, I did not feel the protection because my gaze was fixed on the wolf, not on the shepherd. The longer I stared at the wolf, the more threatened and panicked I felt. Eventually the wolf slinked away, but my feeling of unease remained. I no longer felt safe where I was.

A short time later, I saw something in the distance that caught my attention. I wandered away from the flock to get a closer look. But I wandered too far away and became disoriented. I couldn’t see the flock or even the way back to the flock. I was lost, alone and scared.

Then a wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing approached me. I did not recognize the wolf. I decided to follow him since I was lost and he seemed to know the way.  He led me down a winding path and, at first, it seemed right.

But once the path grew dark and thorny, I began to worry if this was the right way. The thorns scratched at my eyes and ensnared my wool. For a time I was caught in a tangle of brambles and the shadowy place seemed to swallow me up.

The wolf appeared again and I was foolish enough to still want to follow him. I was tired and half blinded so, again, I did not recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing. I did not want to stay stuck in that place. I thought, surely, the worst is over and this must be the way.

The wolf lead me farther down the path which seemed to get steeper and rockier with each step. The wolf tread lightly and quickly, I could barely keep up. I was afraid to be lost and trapped again, so I pressed on, doing my best to stay right on his heels.

The path became narrower as it snaked up a mountain. As it grew dark, I lost my footing and I stumbled, nearly falling off the edge. I could not turn to look back or down for fear of falling. I could not keep up with the wolf who seemed to disappear around a bend. I found myself alone on the dark edge of a cliff, bewildered as to how I got there.

But the Good Shepherd found me before it was too late. He left the other ninety nine sheep in the flock to pursue me, his one wayward sheep.

His Reckless Love chased me down and rescued me from the dark, dangerous place I was in. When I could see no way out, He carried me triumphantly on His shoulders the whole way home.

{Curtain, as the orchestra plays the song Reckless Love}

One Lost Sheep Reckless Love Lyrics

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Erin L. Todd

Both a masterpiece and a Ginger In Progress simultaneously. Following Jesus not diets. Pursuing well-being not weight loss.

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