Have you ever been lost? Not just the “oops I took the wrong turn but will turn around and get back on track” lost, but rather the “I have no idea where I am and I’m feeling a bit panicky” kind of lost. That’s a whole different kind of lost. Maybe you’ve been there as an adult or maybe you had that experience as a child. Either way, that feeling of anxiousness and alarm send your heart racing and nerves jumping. It is downright scary, especially if the place to which you’ve wandered feels unsafe and threatening. Remote locations, unexplained noises from the nearby darkness, intimidating glares from people you pass, all of these multiple anxiety over the situation.
Have you been there? Do you feel your pulse rising a bit as you remember those times? I do! And I’m reminded that this is an experience I don’t want to repeat!
But how did that happen? Did you wake up that day and think, “Hey, I think I’ll get lost today and see what happens”? I doubt it. For most of us, our lost situation probably started with inattention to our path, a lack of charting a course before beginning the journey, perhaps neglecting to check reliable sources before heading out, or possibly depending on unreliable or incomplete information? Or maybe it was simply distractions around us. At our house, we call this the “Ooo shiny!” complex. That’s when we are heading down a course, but something interesting (aka “shiny”) catches our attention and draws us off course. It is when you go to the store for one thing but end up with a basket full of other things (and forgot what you came to get.) Or perhaps these distractions were internal. You were thinking about something and simply forgot to pay attention to where you were headed. Suddenly you “wake up” and realize you don’t know where you are.
Regardless of how you and I got there, lost is still lost. We feel helpless, alone, and perhaps a bit fearful.
You begin calling out for help, or searching diligently for the right path. Perhaps you look for familiar landmarks or dig out the crumpled map. But you begin seeking answers, directions to get back on course, back to a place of security and safety. And since you are reading this article, chances are pretty good that you found your way back. You may have gotten help from others to guide you back to the path or you may have found it on your own through diligent searching. Either way, you’re back. You’re safe. And you rest.
We didn’t get lost on purpose, but we are eager to find the way back to safety and security.
And so it is with our spiritual walk. Sometimes we feel lost and alone, not sure where we should be or where we should turn. We didn’t intend to go wandering off, but yet here we are. In a place that feels threatening and unfamiliar. We cry out for help, we grasp the hands of those nearby that can help guide us to safety, we seek the Great Deliverer. And He is there. God delivers, guides, retrieves us from the lost, scary places into which we wander. He knows our paths. He has laid before us a way that leads us to a life with Him.
So from this week’s readings come a few simple reminders of the loving guidance our God and Father offer us as we continue on this life’s journey.
Where are you going today?
Thanks for reading.