Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I almost stepped on it. While tromping around the backyard picking up sticks and branches, I happened to look down. A couple inches from my right shoe was a tiny bundle of fur. Bending closer I could see it was a baby squirrel, barely breathing, its eyes closed tight. I looked up into the branches high above me, amazed.
Already the sky was getting dark, and the owls would soon be out. I went in the house pondering the most merciful way to put the little creature out of its misery. Then I made a decision that took its fate completely out of my hands. I told my wife about it. Before I knew it, she had it in a shoebox in the bedroom and was feeding it from an eyedropper. She went into action contacting local animal rescue teams, and within a few hours people came to our door and whisked off the baby squirrel that I had been ready to execute. A couple weeks later we got word that the squirrel was doing fine.
Jesus tells about a shepherd who leaves the flock of 99 to bring one stray sheep back to safety (Luke 15). It may seem like ridiculous lengths to go for one sheep, but God doesn’t want to lose a single soul. I remember my mom bringing sparrows into the house after the blue jays had attacked them. When I asked her why, she quoted Jesus, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are numbered. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
Do not be afraid. You have a heavenly Father who sees you, knows you, and loves you. He has sent his son Jesus to seek you out, to find you no matter how far you have fallen, and to bring you back to the fold of God’s family. Hold life precious, and let God find you and fill you with hope in this new year!
Pastor Scott Lindner
Atonement Lutheran Church
Wesley Chapel, Florida