Many children have a stuffed animal or object they attach to for comfort. Doctors refer to them as transitional objects. Moms call them a lovey, woobie or something like that. Whatever you call it, few things elicit panic like the sudden realization this thing has gone missing. Recently, God showed me how pursuit of a lost lovey can show kids how God pursues us with His love.
My daughter’s lovey is Lamby. When Emma was a toddler, there was no peace without Lamby at bedtime, naptime or any time of crisis. Nothing had power to soothe like this ratty old sheep.
Now she’s getting older, Emma clings to Lamby less and less. I often find his increasingly dingy and threadbare body littered throughout the house – stuffed in a box, with one arm sticking out from under the couch, or laying lifeless in the middle of the kitchen floor.
But even with her growing independence, the piercing wail that Lamby is lost launches our entire family into an all-out search and rescue mission. No pillow or pile is left unturned until we unearth this stuffed animal.
I recently dug him out from under a pile of shoes and watched my daughter’s relief and joy as she wiped a smudge from his fur and hugged him close. She didn’t scold Lamby for running away. She welcomed him into her arms without question and celebrated that what was once lost was now found again. In this, God showed me a chance to help Emma see an important truth: The way she loves Lamby is the way God loves us.
He goes looking for us when we wander away from Him. He won’t rest until He finds us and brings us back home to Him. He will pursue us tirelessly until we are returned to Him, our loving Father. And He doesn’t care if we are messy or missing some parts when He finds us. He welcomes us home to Him just the way we are.
In the Bible, Jesus is described as the Good shepherd (John 10:1-18) who loves his sheep and goes looking for them when they’re lost (Luke 15:1-7). Jesus also tells us the story of the prodigal son. A beautiful picture of how we are free to return to God and be welcomed back into his home and his heart regardless of how far we have strayed or the condition we’re in when He finds us (Luke 15:11-31).
So the next time you set out on your 15th (100th?) expedition to locate that lost bear or blanket, take a moment to remind your child that God goes looking for us like this, too. Lost and worn out lovies are a chance to introduce our children to a source of comfort that doesn’t wear out or go missing. God’s love is eternal and nothing can separate us from that love (Romans 8:38).
What about you? How often do you go looking for a lost lovey? Isn’t it a beautiful reminder of how God pursues us? I’d love to hear your thoughts!