by Judi Chow
My mom had a diamond ring that my sibling and I bought for her when we were teenagers. She wore it for many years without taking it off because that ring was a token of our love. After so many years of wear and tear, the tiny diamond somehow got loose and was lost. My mom searched high and low, day and night, on her hands and knees, investigating every inch of her apartment not because of its monetary value but the precious memories it carried. This instance caused me to think of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son of Jesus’ parables in Luke 15.
We usually use these parables to refer to saving lost heathen. If we take a closer look, we can see all 100 sheep belonged to the same master, just as that woman owned all 10 coins and the father had two sons from the beginning. It was from these original lots that one sheep strayed, one coin was lost, and one rebellious son left home. These lost ones used to belong; they were precious just as that tiny diamond belonging to my mom. She knew the ring still on her finger no longer had the diamond; it had an empty crown where the diamond once set. It was incomplete just as the 99 sheep, the nine coins and the one son without the lost ones.
Remember what I talked about in “Where have all the Leaders Gone?” about fallen leaders– the gifted pastor, the sacrificial missionary, and the dedicated elder? Didn’t they once belong to a church? A mission agency? A community of believers? When they fall, they are lost, and no one seems to know how to search after these lost leaders. You know what they say, “the higher you are; the harder you fall.” Maybe these lost leaders don’t want to be found; maybe they are still licking their wounds; maybe it is easier to be lost and forgotten than losing face; or maybe they need the gentle, loving hand of God extended by His people to bring them back home where they once belonged– to be restored.
I have been talking and dreaming about the idea of developing an ICU for missionaries and ministers. I am not a doctor or a nurse, but as a counselor I see wounded people almost everyday. I listen and feel their pain; some wounds are so deeply infected that sometimes I have to perform emotional operations, with their permission, to take out whatever is eating them alive. Restoration of God’s fallen leaders starts with not having them get lost in the first place by continuous contact, diligent prayer, and agape love from God’s people close to that leader. You can only correct and restore when the person is present and willing. ICU is a team effort with the Holy Spirit as our head surgeon guiding a group of mature, humble, caring servants of the Lord living out the community of love and dedication.