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I searched high and low for it, but it was sleeping with the fishes. My iPhone evidently decided to try its hand at scuba diving, as it dove out of my pocket during a recent kayaking excursion. I lost it at the bank and did everything I could to retrieve it, but to no avail (what a "sinking" feeling!). I looked for it in the murky and muddy depths, and called it from my wife's phone in hopes that its vibrations would cause bubbles to rise to the surface. I even tried submerging my head to see if I could hear it ringing, but my efforts were useless.

Although I never recovered my smartphone, I did learn a lesson: I was willing to go to great lengths (and depths) to recover something that was lost because it was valuable to me. And this is the humbling lesson which the Lord teaches us in the Bible's great story of redemption. Just as I searched tirelessly for my lost phone, the Lord relentlessly pursues lost sinners because of His love for them. He leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one that is lost (Luke 15:4). Like the woman who sought her misplaced coin, the Lord diligently searches the whole world for the wayward (Luke 15:8-10).

As a matter of fact, the Lord runs after those who run away from Him, just as He pursued the first sinners in the Garden of Eden and rebellious Jonah who vainly attempted to escape His presence (Gen. 3:8; Jonah 1:3-4). And there is no greater demonstration of God's searching and stop-at-nothing love than the cross of Calvary, where the Lord purchased the salvation of sinners with the blood of His beloved Son (1 Peter 1:18-19). Upon the gruesome hill of Golgotha, the Lord sacrificed His Son because of His love for those who hate Him and transgress His law. As Jesus famously said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:16-17, KJV). This is why Christ came into the world: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Have you experienced the Savior's steadfast love? Can you sing with the hymn writer John Newton (1725-1807), "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see"? If so, are you willing to go to the greatest lengths and depths to deliver the gospel's soul-saving message to those who are lost? Do you long to see sinners gathered into the flock of God like Jesus does (Matt. 23:37)?

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