We chat then, coffee scent curling like ribbons through the air. The baristas, they bustle behind the counter. Doors open and close, patrons coming in, going out, finding fuel, finding companionship, if briefly, to start the day in this cozy place.
“How’s your boy?” I say, looking at her. Life’s been tough, I know. No bed of roses for this one. Instead, it’s been thorns and brambles, cuts and bruises. Blows that don’t stop coming and days of gray that just won’t end.
We talk, then, about our runners beloved, those we know who are running away. Running hard. Running fast. When someone you love is running, it levels a person straight to the ground and can take you right out if you don’t know how to look at it.
We cry a bit, two girls together, speaking words of life, sharing fresh manna for the day. “A friend,” and she breathes the name, “sent me your column on runners. It helped me.” Gratitude, it rises in my chest. Jesus, how You feed Your flock…
She leaves, then. Work is calling. Mine is, too, but we’re strengthened, encouraged by the Shepherd of us both.
Days have passed since that encounter, and I’m thinking once more of runners. Of sheep gone astray. Of the One who faithfully seeks. And I remember this: The Shepherd goes looking for the one. That one. He leaves the ninety-and-nine that are safely within the fold, and He goes in search ofthat one.
Over mountains steep, in crevices deep and in caves black as night, He looks. At long last, when He finds that one He seeks, He “joyfully puts it on His shoulders and goes home (Luke 15:4).” Home to a party. Home to a celebration. Home to joy!
Oh, all you who have runners, love runners or are runners, how much peace, how much joy this should speak right down into your hearts. The Gentle Shepherd of the flock doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t slumber. He doesn’t stop looking for that one precious sheep. Ninety-and-nine plus one. Party! Celebration! And joy.
Happy chilly Monday, my friend.