All morning we hunted for the missing calf. Our pants became caked with mud and manure as we criss-crossed through the pasture. It was hot and everyone was exhausted. So when I stumbled over the animal in the tall grass. I pointed and cried out to the others.
It wasn't moving, however, and was covered with flies. One of the high school students asked, “Is it dead?”
I nodded. “I’m afraid so."
So when it kicked its back legs you can forgive me for jumping back a step. And when it stood up clumsily and loped off to find its mom, you can understand the goofy smile that broke across my face. I was delighted. I found the missing calf. The calf found its mother.
What was lost had been found. What was thought to be dead had come to life.
I carried that smile with me through the rest of the mission trip. I looked for ways to talk about it, inserting it inappropriately into conversations about football or the lunch menu. I annoyed the people around me but I couldn’t help it. It felt like a miracle.
If this is how I felt about a cow whose destiny was a dinner table how much more must our God rejoice when one of his creatures turns from sin? How big does God smile when he is embraced by someone he made?
You are not a cow! When you are found Jesus leaps for joy. You are a child of God. When you are rescued from death all the angels of heaven dance with delight.