We’d been praying for this for a while. The answer came on Saturday night. I was already in bed, in that never-land place just between being awake and falling asleep. Dayna came into the room with a phone in her hand. Our 8-year-old granddaughter Reese had called with news. “Okay, Reese,” Dayna said, “Papa is listening. Tell us your news.”
“I asked Jesus into my heart tonight,” she said. Talk about news worth waking up to! “That’s great, Reese. Praise the Lord! He loves you so very much.” She told us a little more, said she wanted me to baptize her. If I hadn’t been in bed half-asleep, I suspect I’d have got up and danced.
And why not? Angels in heaven were kicking up their heels. One of the most remarkable things Jesus tells us is “that there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Jesus says that in Luke 15. In fact, He says it a couple of times. First, after He tells the story of the shepherd with 100 sheep who left the 99 to go find the one that was lost. And then He says it again after telling the story of the woman who lost one of her ten coins, turned the house upside down looking for it, and finally found it in the seat cushion. In both of those stories, the shepherd and the woman, quickly invited their friends and neighbors to an impromptu party they threw to celebrate finding what they lost. And Jesus says, “You think their parties were something? You should see the angels dance in heaven when even one lost sinner gets found by God!”
And just to put the exclamation point on the matter, Jesus then tells the story of the man whose son took his inheritance early, ran off to Vegas, squandered it all on gambling, women and booze, ended up slopping hogs and starving to death. Sufficiently humbled, he decided to take his chance on going home, hoping good old dad would let him live in the bunkhouse and work as a hired hand on the farm. But dad would have none of that. Dad saw him coming, ran to greet him, embraced him, forgave him, and threw the biggest party they’d ever seen in those parts. The kid even got his old room back.
In case you miss the point, God is like that shepherd and that woman and that father. He looks for the lost and when He finds them, well, it’s party time in heaven: angels dance, bands play happy tunes, choirs sing hallelujah, and somebody dumps a cooler of Gatorade on Jesus’ back. Okay, so I made some of that up. But it’s party time in heaven all right. God just loves finding sinners, angels do the jitterbug, and all heaven shares His joy.
That’s what happened on Saturday night when Reese repented of her sins and decided to follow Jesus. Angels did a jig of joy over her. That just blows me away. All that’s going on in the world, and heaven takes notice over the little prayer of an 8-year-old girl! Remarkable. And even more remarkable is that there was a day when the angels danced for me … for me. I can kind of understand angels dancing over my granddaughter. After all, she is … my granddaughter. But me? I don’t get it. I’m thankful for it, but it’s hard to get my mind around it.
And maybe that’s the problem. Such things are perhaps more a matter of the heart than of the mind, and heaven’s heart rejoices when even one sinner is found. Lost people matter to God. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and when it happens—anywhere in the world—heaven explodes with joy. Another lost soul is found. Another person dead in their trespasses and sins is made alive. Another stray has found her way home. Mission accomplished once again.
How about you? Have you been found by God? Have you trusted Christ for your salvation? If so, take joy that one day angels danced over you. And if not, why not trust Christ today? Christ is seeking you today. And in heaven: the streamers are hung; the cake is on the table; the band is tuning up; the Gatorade cooler is ready; and the angels are loosening up so they’ll be ready to dance over you. Come on … let ‘em dance!