"…What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…”

I have recently been part of a modern day parable. Or actually, I have witnessed one.  You know the parable in Luke 15 about the lost sheep? The one I quoted above? Well, here’s my latest version:

Jackson has 2 great loves in his life currently. First, trains. We love trains. More specifically, we love Thomas the Train. We have wooden tracks and wooden train cars and freight cars. They all have names, and Jackson knows them all. Nick and I felt as though we hit the jackpot when shortly before Christmas I discovered, through craigslist, a woman who was a Thomas collector, and sold pieces at a fraction of the price! We “build tracks” every day, for a large portion of the day.

But that is one love. The second, which is loved at an equal value as the trains, is cars. Hotwheels, really. The good thing about cars is they cost $1.07 around the corner at both Sears and Big Lots. Every so often, Daddy loves being the hero who takes Jackson on a walk to one of these stores and pulls into the toy aisle, saying excitedly, “Jackson, daddy wants to get you a new car!” The picking process usually takes a while, but is always thrilling, for both daddy and son.

Cars get driven on the train track, as well as the carpet, the table, the console, the couch, the kitchen floor, everywhere. Cars get lined up in neat long lines, and then smashed. Cars get counted…”One, Two, Free, Fore, Fife, Six, Eleven, Six, Eleven, Six, Eleven…”  Cars say “vroom vroom”. Sometimes they fly. We discuss their colors. We know a handful by name : Honda, Nissan, Hummer, Camaro, Cadillac, Chevy, and the Impala. 

Ahhhh, the Impala. This is where I have been leading you. A 2010, green and gray striped, Chevy Impala. This car is loved above all others. If there are cars strewn all over the floor, but one in the tight grip of Jacksons little hand, it is the Impala. We’re not sure why this little car has won his heart, but oh, it has.  And so begins my story:

Tragically, shortly before Christmas, the precious Impala was lost. Nick and I of course would not have even noticed if Jackson hadn’t repeated, “Impala? Impala? Impala? Impala?” from sun up till sun down. So we searched, and searched, and searched. Under the couch, the chair, the fridge, the stove. We pulled cushions off couches, open all kinds of drawers, looked deep in the caverns of our truck. It was nowhere. Poor little guy, we thought. But we were aware that Christmas was coming, and many new and exciting toys would soon be unwrapped, some of which were new cars. The Impala would luckily soon be forgotten. 

So Christmas came, and a flooding of presents from mom and dad and doting grandparents came too. And new cars. Monster trucks, Lightning Mcqueen, a car carrying suitcase, an 8 foot long 6 track race track, to name a few. He loved them all. But once we returned home and the holidays had passed, the familiar question filled our home again. “Impala? Impala? Impala? Impala?” So we looked again. Everywhere. We tried to distract him. But it didn’t work. Now, tears were being shed for the dear long lost Impala. 

Nick and I laughed together at how silly it seemed when one late night, we found ourselves in front of the computer, ordering a new $2.00 green and gray striped, 2010 Chevy Impala (We had already checked the stores). It would arrive in a few days. However very the next day, while Jackson was helping me pack for a trip to Arizona, I heard his little voice say excitedly, “Impala!!”  I froze in mid-pack. “What?” I asked cautiously. “Impala!” He repeated! I immediately ran over to him and there, sitting inside our closet, was the Impala. Jackson was beside himself with glee. And I was beside myself with glee as well. Jackson’s great love had been found! I didn’t think that little Impala had found a place in my heart, however right then, I could not be happier to behold anything else!

And right then and there I thought of the parable of the lost sheep. This was Jackson’s lost sheep, that would not and could not be replaced by any other. He could not be distracted, he could not forget, he could not stop looking. How much Jesus loves us, right? We are all his Impala’s : )

However, we do now have a backup impala.

A small portion of our car collection

Our dear Impala, middle green car, about to race