Jesus said) “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
So, can you tell me what you were doing in July of 1980?
That question would be a hard one for me. Just trying to come up with an answer could be quite a challenge. However, I know exactly what I was doing in July 1980. I was going to school at Duke and attending the funeral of my two nephews (my brother’s two sons, David  & Brian ), who drowned in a farm pond next door to their home in Monroe. There is no way I can ever forget that time. It hurt me so deeply to see my brother and his wife at such a loss, that all I wanted to do was sleep. I guess that was my coping device? In all probability, unless you had some sort of major event in your life — a wedding or a birthday or funeral, you probably are having a tough time remembering.
Although Joseph Welch might have problems recollecting other years and months, July of 1980 he is in prison, but in July 1981 he has no problem remembering what he was doing. That’s because that’s when Joseph escaped the Wyoming State Penitentiary. Did a good job of it. Nobody had any idea what happened to Welch. He was missing through most of the 80s, all of the 90s, and the first decade of the new millennium.
A recent news story coming out of Anchorage, Alaska, says that Joseph Welch is missing no longer.
It’s true. Welch’s freedom was brought to an end when Police Chief Shad Haller arrested him while Welch was having his supper at the Tide Pool Restaurant. Information with the story says that Welch had been in Alaska for at least 12 years. During that time he had kept busy doing construction jobs.
Stories like that amaze me.
Just think, all the time Joseph Welch was going about his daily activities the police were looking for him. The passing of seasons and years made no difference, the police were after him. When the trail turned ice-cold and no leads were forthcoming, the law hadn’t forgotten. Joseph Welch was a wanted man.
At the beginning of this devotion, I asked what you were doing in July of 1980. Now, let me ask a question which is easier: when were you born?
See, I told you it would be an easier question.
Now here’s something to think about. From the moment you were born — and even before — the Lord has been looking for you. At first He looked for a sinner so He might call him/her to repentance and adopt that person into the family of faith.
Then, after the Holy Spirit had given you faith, after you had become a Christian, God kept looking for you. He was looking for you to use the gifts He had given, looking for you to show your appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you — in large ways and small — to live as a good representative of the family name.
No doubt there have been times God has been disappointed by what He’s seen; other times may have made him smile. Still, one thing is certain; tomorrow is a new day, and you can be sure God will still be looking for you because you are His child.
Dear Lord, let me draw comfort from your ongoing presence in my life. Forgive me for trying to escape, disregard or disobey. Let me be gladdened by the fact the living Jesus continues to live in my heart. May my life reflect the difference He has made. In and through Jesus. Amen.
Grace and Peace