Read Matthew 18:10-14

In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.—Matthew 18:14 (NIV)

I lead activities sessions for adults with learning disabilities. One day, a woman in my care walked off the site without my noticing. She was nowhere to be found, and I was frantic. We searched the streets around the site and those leading into the city, and we called the police. All the while, my worst fears for her were racing through my mind: What if …? Then the news came over the police radio that she’d been found. What a relief! I later learned that she had made her way to a tea shop near the center of town, where she had been kindly looked after by staff and a caring customer.

The range of emotions I felt that day—from fear and dread to sheer joy and relief at the news of her safety—must have been close to those experienced by the shepherd in Jesus’ story. The Father knows how easily we can wander, and what snares and dangers await us when we do. But God knows and cares for us individually, having deep regard for the choices we make and the difficulties we face. Matthew 18 reminds us that we are known and cherished by our loving God, who rejoices when we are found.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for caring for those who are lost and wandering. Help us to love them as you do. Amen.

Thought for the day: God will help me through any difficulty I face.

—Rupert Greville, United Kingdom