One Little Gosling

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“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.” —Luke 15:4–6, NIV

I recently took my mother on a long weekend trip to Ellijay, in the North Georgia mountains of the United States, to celebrate her eightieth birthday.

We rented a cabin that sat directly on the Coosawattee River, where wildlife, including deer, geese, and black bears, were common sightings.

One morning, I woke up early to drink a hot drink on the deck.

As I sat there, I noticed a family of geese swimming by.

There was the father gander, the mother goose, and seven little goslings.

As I watched, the family began to make moves to climb out of the river onto the bank across from where I was sitting. All of them made it—except for one little gosling, who must not have been paying attention while the rest of the family made their way to shore.

I watched as the little one tried to climb out of the water.

It climbed up onto a rock and then onto a patch of grass but slipped back into the water. Frantically, it swam to another spot, found its footing, and tried to climb out again. Over and over again it tried, only to end up slipping back into the river.

I found myself talking to the little thing, “C’mon. You can do it!” As it continued to struggle, I began to pray, asking the Lord to help this littlest of creatures to safely make it out of the river and onto the bank to join its family. Meanwhile, on shore, the parents were standing watch. Occasionally, I would hear the little one chirp out a cry for help, and the parents would answer with a loud honk. I tried to imagine their conversation.

“Do not leave me! I am coming!” “We are not going anywhere until you get here. Keep trying. You have got this!” Eventually, the little gosling found solid ground and made his way up the bank without slipping. Wet, bedraggled, and limping, he made his way over to his mother. I saw him huddle under her wing for a moment before they moved on to join the rest of the family. As I watched, I thought of how grateful I am that God waits for us, His children, when we lose our way. We are always in His sight. He came to seek and to save—and He will guide us home.

Kristina E. Smith

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