510-001-MI was sixteen when I came home late from a night of illicit partying. I went into the bathroom, locked the door and sat there, ticked off and totally overwhelmed.  I mean, how was I suppose to maintain my “freedom with God,” while maintaining my freedom to party? So, in that moment and in my immaturity, I felt I had to make a choice – so I prayed. That night, in the bathroom, I actually asked God to leave – I told Him I didn’t want to be a Christian anymore. Thankfully, God doesn’t answer prayers like that.  He promises He will never leave us and because He’s God, He’s incapable of breaking that promise. In Matthew 18:12-14, Jesus talked about a shepherd who has a hundred sheep and one wanders off. The shepherd leaves ninety-nine just to rescue one. It’s a lamb’s nature to get lost, it’s God’s nature to get the lamb back. I am here today because God rescued me when I was lost. Sometimes I wonder why.  “Was I that important to you, God?” But in God’s die-hard love for every lamb–every lamb is worth rescuing, no lamb is worth leaving. When I was sixteen, I thought freedom was at the party.  It’s not. Freedom outside of God’s pasture is chancy and fleeting. Freedom IN His pasture is unconditional and endless and I’m thankful to be there.

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