Look at that Gospel lesson. Whoever wrote it was just brilliant. Jesus says, "Which one of you does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one who is lost?" He makes the statement as though it were perfectly logical, when, in fact, he's actually asking, "Which one of you WOULD leave the ninety-nine and go after the one who is lost?" Think about it: would a responsible shepherd actually abandon the most valuable, obedient portion of his flock and go after the one who's naughty or stupid or both? No, because there's no logical gain in it. We'd probably fire that shepherd's ass if those were our sheep.
And, okay, I suppose we might all go crazy looking for a lost coin (a silver denarius was equivalent to a day's wages), but would we then call all our friends and have a rave when we found it? That party probably cost more than the coin. It's irrational. Crazy, even. Completely impulsive and extravagant.
But here's the thing: God, who is not limited by time or space or resources, is therefore not compelled to operate in the same way that human beings are. God needn't choose between the one and the many, or to decide when to cut one's losses, or to be thrifty with love, which is, after all, Him/Herself.
God withholds nothing. God works on the individual level, one-on-one, one sheep or coin or person at a time (except of course there is no "time" for God). I'll repeat: God withholds nothing. There's no logic, no rationality, no sense. God withholds nothing, not even Him/Herself to find us, connect with us, save us.
In my sequel, Max does a completely crazy thing: he gives up everything for a completely worthless person. He's only human, of course, but he gets a lot of good advice and the periodic kick in the pants from a really good source. He somehow finds it within himself to set aside selfishness and be brave enough to go into the wilderness after that one sheep. He gives up everything - for what? Well, you'll have to read for yourself, but trust me, it's worth it.
Here's my hope: that everyone who reads this little post will come to see the astonishing brilliance of God's foolishness, what Madeleine L'Engle calls "the Glorious Impossible." I love you all. Peace!