About five years ago, our red VW Polo 1.9TDI was stolen. It was parked outside a friend’s house where our fellowship group met once a week. The more we looked for it, the more it wasn’t there.
We had bought the car with specific purposes in mind. a) We needed something powerful to tow our caravan, b) I was still involved in Girl Guides and the hatchback was useful for transporting tents, tables and crates of camping equipment from the Guide hall to the campground and c) it was a comfortable economical car for long trips.
The car was insured but the payout didn’t cover the cost of the replacement. We got on with life. Our circumstances changed.
Recently my husband got a call from the Police. They had recovered our car and needed us to go to their Benoni compound to identify it. It was difficult because so much had changed. The seats had been changed and there was new trim on the inside. Different hub caps had been fitted. Even the engine number had been changed – by one digit.
I was reminded of that wonderful hymn, “Amazing Grace” by John Newton. He was involved in the Atlantic slave trade and was certainly not fulfilling the purpose for which God had made him. During a dreadful storm, he cried out to God for help. He became a changed man, a new creation. He wrote in the hymn, “I once was lost but now am found…”
In a way, we were all once lost, perhaps even stolen. Under new management. Ephesians 2 v 1-5 reads, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions.” (NIV)
What once was lost, has now been found and returned to its rightful owner: in the case of the red Polo, the insurance company, in the case of us, our Father.