“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”
Alone. I think we’ve all felt this way at some point in our lives — whether it’s the result of circumstances beyond our control or isolation of our own choosing.
Jesus spoke a parable in Luke 15:1-7. Have you ever wondered how that one sheep got lost? Was he willfully disobedient? Did he think, Man, I don’t like the way this shepherd is leading us; he can’t be trusted, so I’m out of here. I actually think it went more like this …He started eating some grass, and while eating thought, Wow, this grass is pretty good. The pleasure of immediately satisfying his desire got him off track, and he found himself not paying attention to the other sheep around him. And then suddenly he looked up, and he was alone. He probably had no idea he was off track. He may have been out of sync with the others for a while, but he really had no idea.
I have a feeling that’s how we all get lost sometimes. We find ourselves a little discouraged or distracted, and we just start to subtly slide away. We start sitting on the back row. We miss a few weeks of church. We don’t attend mid-week Bible study. We make excuses, and then we find an exit. A way out. We take a step, then another step, and then before long we look up and wonder, how in the world did I get here? And, where are all the other sheep?
That’s exactly where the enemy wants us — alone. Alone with our own tangled thoughts. Alone with his whispered lies that start to sound more and more like truths. Separated from the very people who could speak courage into our deep places, flirting with discouragement and defeat. Separated from friends who could let us stand on their faith when our own gets a little shaky.
The enemy knows if he can isolate us, he can intimidate us. Confuse us. Deceive us. And ultimately, make us believe the safer paths in life are ones apart from God and our friends who serve God.