Understanding God’s Heart for His Lost Children

Understanding God's Heart for His Lost Children

Years ago my wife, Jen, and I took our five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter to a big water park. The kind of water park that has huge kiddie pools, slides, and fun things like that.

While my kids were going down one of the giant slides, my wife walked over to the other side of the pool to explore a giant mushroom shower. My son, Dawson, asked, “Where’s Mom?” I pointed to the mushroom shower.

“Can I go get her?” he asked. I smiled and nodded, and then watched him walk across the pool.

A few minutes later, I grabbed my daughter and said, “Let’s go get Mommy and Dawson.” We walked over to the mushroom shower where Jen was still showering. When I didn’t see my son, I asked her, “Where’s Dawson?”

Jen looked at me with surprise and explained that she had sent Dawson back to me five minutes prior and she had not seen him since.

When Children Go Astray

I began looking all over the kiddie pool but I didn’t see him. I thought, “Don’t freak out…he’s here.

Ummmm, blue bathing suit.” I looked but no blue bathing suit.

“Uhhhhh, light brown hair.” No kid with light brown hair in sight.

“Maybe he’s in one of the slides?” No kids matching his description on the slides.

It had now been over ten minutes since we had seen our son but I frantically continued to search. By the time it had been more than fifteen minutes, I was totally freaking out.

The kiddie pool was situated in a valley. I ran up to the top of one side to get a better view. I looked down and scanned the entire pool but there was no sign of Dawson. My heart started racing and my throat clenched up. My head was pounding from the mixture of adrenaline and fear. I looked again but he was nowhere to be found. I just wanted to die.

I scanned the sidewalk on my left and right one more time. No Dawson. I looked in the pool again but no Dawson. At this point, it had been twenty minutes since he was last seen. I looked up the sidewalk one more time and saw the flash of a blue bathing suit amongst the hundreds of people. I squinted. Light brown hair. I called out, “Dawson? Dawson?!?”

The boy in the blue bathing suit with light brown hair was about fifty yards away from me. He looked up and I could see that he was my son. “DAWSON!” He saw me and his face turned white. I ran towards him. He ran towards me and swiftly dove into my arms.

“Where were you?” I asked.

“I went to find Mommy” he said. “I thought she was in the other pool.”

“You went all the way to the other pool by yourself?” I inquired. It really didn’t matter so I just held him tightly and savored his hug.

How God Must Feel

I suddenly realized that what I had experienced must be similar to God’s entire existence. The situation I was in, the feelings experienced, my child missing, and not knowing if I’d ever hold him again – that’s what God experiences every day.

I suddenly realized that what I had experienced must be similar to God’s entire existence. The situation I was in, the feelings experienced, my child missing, and not knowing if I’d ever hold him again – that’s what God experiences every day.

It reminds me of Jeremiah 4, when God says, “Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me. I cannot keep silent.” And also, “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding.” He even says, “If you will return, O Israel, return to me…” God our Father is separated from His children so he calls out and invites them to return home to Him.

The Bible says that we are God’s dearly loved children and he loves us even more than we love our own kids. Jesus said those without God are his lost children. Can you imagine how God must feel? Can you imagine how distraught God must feel having countless lost children wandering around? Can you imagine the pain he must feel being separated from them?

Not only is God missing his children, but they are living their lives without their heavenly Father. As I held Dawson that day at the pool, I realized nothing is more important than helping God’s lost children find their way back home and into his arms.

Filled With Compassion

In Matthew 9, the Bible says that as Jesus went through the towns and villages, he saw the crowds and “he had compassion on them.”

Compassion is translated into English from the word “splagna.” I love the word splagna because it sounds like the noise someone makes when they throw up. “Yuck, I am so sick. I just splagnaed all over the place.” That’s actually what it means. Splagna refers to a person’s intestines. The idea derives from having your guts twisted or ripped out. It’s that feeling you get in your stomach. It’s a deep, wrenching, painful feeling when you see something that is wrong and it moves you deeply.

Matthew 9 goes on to say that Jesus, “had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He saw people who reminded him of children without their Father, and He couldn’t take it. He couldn’t stand seeing God’s children separated from their Heavenly Father.

Filled with compassion, Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus couldn’t stand the sight of people who had been separated from their Heavenly Father, so he begs his disciples, “Pray that people will join me in my mission of seeking and saving God’s lost children.”

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Our Mission to Seek and Save

Jesus said his mission was to “seek and save the lost” and reunite God’s lost kids with God. He has given us that mission but way too often we ignore it. We act as if it doesn’t matter or we can do other things to make up for it, but we can’t.

Think about it this way: What if tomorrow you’re eating a bowl of cereal when you notice a picture of a missing child on your milk carton. Your eyes explode. You know this kid! You know his parents! You even know where to find the kid! You realize you can take action that would almost certainly return this child to his mother and father.

Instead, you think, “Nah. I don’t feel like doing that. But I do like that kid’s parents so I think I’ll start giving them ten percent of my income. Oh, and I’ll go over to their house every Sunday morning and volunteer with chores. You know, I may even sing some songs to them while I’m there.”

Every person would love to receive money, have someone serve them, and maybe even be serenaded. However, if a parent has a missing child, nothing else matters compared to bringing that lost child home. And, if a parent is separated from a child, the most important thing is connecting that child with his parents.


There’s no way we would refuse helping parents reunite with lost children. Yet, how often do we give, serve, and worship God, but disregard the lost children we could help return? When we ignore that fact, we’re ignoring the mission Jesus gave us.


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