God is no lagging Father! :) The sufferings of His Son prove that His love is fierce enough to penetrate through any veil of sin! For it is in this the God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still actively rebellious towards Him, He crushed His own Son (Romans 5:1-11).
I have no answer yet to the fact in question concerning the shepherd and one of his sheep which continue to wander; that is actually how I found this site, while looking for that answer. And after many of the articles and websites that I have found, it seems to me that most people are answering this question out of a mindset which states: "God is too loving to hurt us!" I could be wrong in this, but the overwhelming sense is that most people view God in this way; and in the least those authors of such articles do.
I believe that before we begin to qualify the love that the Father has toward us, we must define the love which the Father has for His Son.According to Jesus in John 17: 23 the Father loves us even as he loves the Son. Therefore, the love of God for us is defined by the love which God has for His Son. There is no love that compares to the love God has for His Son.... For the Father has spoken from Heaven concerning His Son saying, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased" Matthew 3:17. Ephesians 1:6 speaks of the Son as the Beloved. Isaiah 42:1 speaks of the coming Servant of God (Jesus) as His chosen One, and the One in Whom His soul delights! Do you hear that language; God the Father trying to describe to us the pleasure that He takes in His Servant( His Son) says that His soul ( an expression to relate His fulness) takes delight in this One. There is only One person here who is so loved and delighted in. "Wisdom" Proverbs 8 is classically interpreted as the Son of God due to the living and pre-creation descriptions being used; and here it says that Wisdom was "daily" the delight of the Father.
I bring all of this up to point to the fact that the love which we experience from God is first and foremost grounded in the love which the Father has for us **in the Son**. In order to save His people from their sins, Jesus our Lord had to take our sins upon Himself. He had to become the very thing that was bringing the judgment of God against us (**2Corinthians 5:21**, **He made Him to be sin who knew no sin; **Isaiah 53:6** but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him...**). And in this transaction taking place, the wrath of God which belonged to the sinner, fell upon the Sinless! Hear **Isaiah 53:10 ** **But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief;** Now, I am no genius, but I think that if in order to save sinners God not only crushed His Beloved Son, but was **well-pleased** to do so (not maniacally, but with purpose), then I am confident to conclude that He will go to great lengths to remove sin from the life of one of His sheep.
Lamentations speaks of the Lord afflicting men and speaking forth both good and ill upon people, exposing their sins so that they might repent of their sins and turn back to the Lord. This is not out of anger, or severe displeasure, or even rage, but rather out of a love that desires to turn them away from that which will bring them infinite harm. What grace!!! For this is not what we deserve! My life is a testimony to this purging! And Scripture testifies to this as well. . Hebrews 12 says that if you are a son of God through Jesus Christ, God the Father will discipline you! What does this discipline look like? In brief, Scripture which speaks of the purifying of God's people makes reference to the Lord refining them as silver is refined in fire, and that He Himself is the One doing it (1 Peter 1:6-7, Malachi 3:1-4). Fire hurts, and burns, and damages!But this fire is meant to make the "sons of Israel" pure,and to make their offerings pure in the sight of the Lord. When Jacob wrestled with God, before the Lord ever gave him the blessing, Jacob was disciplined; the Lord physically hurt him( Genesis 32:24-32)! And Jacob did not complain, but rather, he glorified the Lord, being astonished that he had seen God face to face, and yet he lived.
Sadly, when most people think of discipline, due to the way in which our culture has changed the meaning of the word, they believe it to be something negative. But all throughout the book of Proverbs, a father who does not discipline his child is said not love that child at all. Jesus Himself learned obedience through the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8), which is speaking of His suffering of death! Why should we expect any less?
The point at the end is this: the Father of our Lord Jesus is serious about sin. If He crushed His own Beloved Son when He took sin upon Himself for us, then one may conclude that He will go to any means to purify His sheep as silver is purified, for they are called by His Name (**Ezekiel 36:22-32**). He will wash them with pure water, and they shall be cleansed from all of their filthiness and idols. This however does not diminish the Love of God; for He loves us so much that He will save us from us! He will accept us in Christ, but He will not leave us the same! He will conform us to the image of Christ Jesus (**Romans 8:28-29**), and this involves taking up an instrument of death, the cross (**Matthew 16:24**).
Scripturally, it sounds like all of God's people have "broken legs", which we will not be healed from until the day that we shed these mortal bodies.