Lost and Found

Lost – I really don’t like that word – except when it is used about excess pounds. The only thing I’d like to lose is about 15 lbs!

When I was a student pilot on one of my early solo flights, crosswinds blew me off the course that my instructor had plotted for me. Because I was a young rookie, I was far from the intended flight path before I even realized what was happening! When the features on the ground didn’t match the map at all I said, “I’m lost!” With the help the radios onboard I was able to figure out where I was and plot a new course back to my home airport. Becoming “found” required orientation outside of myself.

A set of keys just ‘disappeared’ from my possession. I hunted everywhere, in pockets, on my desk… yes, I mean everywhere. Two years later, while I was cleaning my car, I pushed the vacuum cleaner’s nozzle into the narrow crevice between the seat and the center console and heard a clink. There was that set of keys! They had been inches away from my possession for all that time, but out of sight and therefore, ‘lost.’

In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 15, Jesus told some stories about lost things and a lost son! He told about a shepherd who went looking for a single lamb that wandered away from the flock. Despite having 99 sheep still in his care, he cared about the one that was lost. When he found the lost sheep, he carried it home and rejoiced with his friends and neighbors that he found the missing lamb. He told of a woman lost a valuable coin. She searched until she found it and then yelled to her neighbors, “Yes! I found it! Hallelujah!”

Then He told the most poignant of the ‘lost’ stories – the story we call, The Prodigal Son. The young man lost his sense, lost his way, lost his fortune, and lost his love for family! He was in terrible shape, to all appearance beyond hope. But there was a Waiting Father whose love remained strong, and the memory of the Father’s house pulled at the heart of the lost son until he said, “I will go home to my father!”

I cannot read the next part of that story without feeling strong emotion – “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20, NLT) Why does that move me so? Because I, too, once was lost. I had rejected the guidance of God, been blown ‘off course’ by the winds of life, fallen into a dark place. It is the plight of every living soul! The Enemy of God and good whispers the Lie to lost ones – “God does not care for you. He’s abandoned the search. You’re abandoned, alone – and you’re so lost, you can never go home!” Don’t believe it! The Waiting Father and the Searching Spirit are looking for the lost. The love of heaven beckons us to turn toward home and guides us back to the Way. The only thing we must do is obey the call!

Believer, have you wandered or wavered? Maybe worse than that, you have willfully chosen to break away from the way you know God has for you? “Go home today!” Tell Him you’re sorry, own the failure without excuse and He’ll embrace you again.

Friend, maybe you’re reading this from a place of loneliness or even despair, feeling very lost! You don’t have to live that way. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you, to guide you home, and let God love you to wholeness.

Here’s a word from the Word – Read it prayerfully, carefully; and rejoice in the wonder of the amazing grace that found you!

“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin.
You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.
You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.
We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us.

Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.
He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!” (Ephesians 2:1-5, The Message) ____________________

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