Jeff was in Big5 when I decided to walk over to Dollar Tree. I was scanning birthday cards, when out of the corner of my eye, a small figure suddenly entered the aisle. My gaze met those of a wide-eyed child, face flushed and blotchy like when you have a question you can’t answer. I noticed her tear stained cheeks as I asked, “Are you okay?” “I can’t find Grandpa!” she blurted in panic. Lost. She accepted my outstretched hand when I asked her name. “Summer,” I told her, “My name is Julie, I’m a teacher, I will help you, and I won’t let go until we find Grandpa, okay?”
It’s terrifying to be lost, but it feels desperate to be lost and alone. Summer stepped closer now that we weren’t strangers. When you’re sure you’re on your own and in trouble, it’s a soul-deep relief to find out you’re not alone. Being lost didn’t seem to be such a permanent sentence once we began to search the aisles one by one, learning a little more with each turn. The color of Grandpa’s shirt. The name of her school. Where grandpa left her.
There was hope.
Have you ever felt lost and alone? Panicked inside and desperate for someone’s eyes to meet your own and see, to see that you need help?
The Bible actually tells us that God’s Son, Jesus, came to look for and find those who are lost (Luke 19:10). Without having a personal relationship with Jesus, we are lost. Being in a “lost” state means feeling the kind of wandering and uncertainty and fear that stirs up panic and fear and hopelessness. When the time comes that we look up and realize we’re lost and alone in life, it can be terrifying. And Jesus is there to say, “I’m Jesus, I’m the Savior, I will help you, and I won’t let go ever.”
To help us understand God’s commitment to us, the Bible uses the example of a shepherd with sheep. To the original readers, it was a familiar example from their life, but we can still relate. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:4-6)
Jesus came to earth to look for and find people who don’t have a personal relationship with God. When we don’t know God, we’re lost and alone.
We had just finished the last aisle, when Summer and I spotted an old man in a tattered gray t-shirt, pushing open the front door. “Grandpa!” she shouted, wrapping her arms around his belly. The future looked good again. It feels so good to be found.
Confused, Grandpa first looked down at Summer and then at me with questioning eyes. “Summer couldn’t find you and she was afraid, so we were looking for you,” I explained while Summer hugged. Still surprised, Grandpa said he thought Summer stayed in the truck. While she had been panicked and alone, he hadn’t been looking for her at all. I told her he was looking, but he wasn’t. I was wrong.
I don’t think it was an accident I went to Dollar Tree. Maybe it wasn’t about the card.
But the Heavenly Father IS looking for us. If we’re overwhelmed by our relationships or finances or our job or our choices, He’s looking for us. He has already done a lot to remove any barriers of understanding who He is and how to reach Him. He has invited us to come close and not be a stranger. He wants to be known by us. He sent His Son to look for us and save us from being lost and alone in life. He is Jesus, He’s the Savior of the world, He helps us, and He won’t let go.
Do you feel lost and alone? I invite you to send me an email and ask more. You could also ask someone you know who has a relationship with God what made them want that, how they found it, and how you can find it too. My friend Kathy explains it HERE.