By Vince Antonucci
Years ago my wife and I took our then five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter to a big water park. They have a bunch of huge kiddie pools. Each has slides and all kinds of fun stuff. We played in one kiddie pool for a while. Then we walked about 100 yards to the next one. My kids were repeatedly going down one big slide. My wife walked over to the other side of the pool where they had a big mushroom shower. Eventually, my son Dawson asked, “Where’s mom?” “She’s over there by the mushroom water shower thing,” I answered. “Can I go get her?” he asked. “Sure,” I told him, “Go ahead.”
About five minutes later I grabbed my daughter and said, “Let’s go get Mommy and Dawson.” So we went over to the shower. My wife Jen was still under it, but all by herself. I asked, “Where’s Dawson?”
She said, “What are you talking about?” “I sent him over about five minutes ago.” “I haven’t seen him.”
I started looking all over the kiddie pool. I didn’t see him. I thought, “Don’t freak out Vince, he’s here. Ummmm, blue bathing suit.” I looked for a blue bathing suit. No. “Uhhhhh, light brown hair.” No. “He’s in one of the slides.” No. It had now been over ten minutes since we had seen our son. I continued to look. Soon, it had been over fifteen minutes. I started freaking out.
The kiddie pool was situated in a valley. I ran up the hill to the sidewalk so I could have a better view of the entire reservoir. I looked down. He was not there. At this point, I am scared as my heart is beating faster. My throat clenched up. My head was pounding. I looked again. He was not there. I wanted to die. I looked up the sidewalk to my left. No. I looked down the sidewalk to my right. No, I looked in the pool again. No. It had been twenty minutes. I looked up the path to my left. And I saw the flash of a blue bathing suit amongst the hundreds of people. I squinted. Light brown hair. I called out, “Dawson? Dawson?!?”
The blue bathing suit with light brown hair was about fifty yards away from me. I yelled, “Dawson?” Finally, the child in the blue bathing suit with light brown hair looked up, and it was my son. “Dawson!” He saw me, and his face went white. I ran towards him. He ran towards me and dove into my arms.
“Where were you?” I asked. “I went to find Mommy,” he said. “I thought she was at the pool we were at before.” I said, “You went all the way to the other pool by yourself?” I held him tight.
And suddenly I realized that what I had just experienced for a few brief moments must be somewhat like God’s entire existence. That situation I was in, those feelings I experienced, my child gone, not knowing if I’d ever hold him again – that’s God’s situation, and those are the feelings God experiences every day. God’s words in the book of Jeremiah chapter 4 came to my mind at this point; this is where God said, “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 then, “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding.” And he says, “If you will return, O Israel, return to me…” God the Father is separated from His children, and he calls out, inviting them to return home to Him.
The Bible says that we are God’s dearly loved children. God loves us even more than we love our kids. And Jesus said that those without God are his lost children. Can you imagine God’s heart? Can you imagine how frantic it must feel to be God, with countless lost children wandering around? Can you imagine the pain he feels daily? And it’s not just that God is missing his children, it’s also that His children are living their lives without their heavenly Father.
I realized as I held my son, that nothing is important as me helping God’s lost children back home and into his arms.
What Made Jesus Sick
According to the book of Matthew chapter 9, the Bible says that as Jesus went through the towns and villages when He saw the crowds, “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, as in, “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 is that of having your guts twisted or ripped out. It’s a feeling you get in your stomach. It’s a deep, wrenching, painful feeling when you see something that is wrong and moves you deeply.
It says, Jesus “… he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He saw people who were like children without their Father, and He couldn’t take it. He couldn’t stand seeing God’s kids who were separated from God.
He felt sick, so he turns and says to his disciples, “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.”
Jesus said his mission was to “seek and save the lost.” To get God’s lost kids reunited with God. And He has given us that mission. Way too often we ignore our mission. We act as if it doesn’t matter, or like 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! And you know where to find the child! You realize that you can take action that will almost certainly return this child to his mother and father. But then you think, “Nah. I don’t feel like doing that. But I do like that kid’s parents. 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 do some chores for them. And I might even sing some songs to them while I’m there.”
Obviously, that’s insane. Every person would love to be given money, have someone serve them, and maybe even be serenaded. But if a parent has a kid who is missing, nothing else matters in comparison to getting that lost child home. And if a child is living life without parents, nothing else matters compared to getting that kid connected to his dad or mom. So if we could help make that happen, there’s no way we wouldn’t do it. But how often do we give and serve and sing to God, but ignore the fact that our Heavenly Father has lost children who we could help return to him? Ignoring this assignment can be likened to ignoring the heart of God. We’re ignoring the mission Jesus gave us. And we need to repent and recommit ourselves to our mission of getting God’s lost children home.
Share this Post