The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Love | Week 3 | Day 19

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?”

Luke 15:4

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

It was a marvelous moment of spiritual insight. As Israel’s shepherd went about his daily work of tending sheep, David realized that the loving care he gave his sheep was like the loving care he received from God. So begins David’s most famous psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).

The shepherd from David’s psalm became part of Israel’s working definition of God—a caretaker who laid his flock down in green pastures, led them beside still waters, and restored their souls. But sometimes sheep get lost, and then they are far too disoriented to find their way home. As soon as they stray, they are defenseless against almost any danger. When they wander, they must wait to be rescued.

In those days, a man with one hundred sheep was doing rather well financially. He could probably afford to lose a sheep or two. And a full-grown sheep is no easy burden—weighing more than one hundred pounds.

But God’s compassion for us will not allow him to abandon any one of us, despite the heavy burden of bringing us back. What comfort this gives to all the sheep! Weary and worn, weighed down by the slings and arrows of a hurting world, we often do not have the strength or the ability to find our way home. This Advent season, let us rest in the knowledge that our Savior the Good Shepherd, in his tender compassion, will carry us back to the fold no matter how far we roam.

– Wheaton College President Philip G. Ryken, Risen with Healing in His Wings: God’s Tender Compassion for a Hurting World.


Father, thank you for being a compassionate God, slow to anger and rich in love. The pain in our hurting world can weigh us down. So many suffer. So many need to find their way to you. You are the Good Shepherd who seeks and saves His lost sheep. I pray for the salvation of (name someone you know who needs Christ). Help me to be still, to rest, and to lean on your everlasting arms because you alone are good. Amen.


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Family Application

Jesus’ name means “the Lord is salvation.” Share with each other what your name means (Google is your friend for this!) then share the story behind your name if you know it.