Lost and Found

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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When I was around seven years old, my Mom took myself and my siblings to the grand opening of a grocery store in town. To most, the grand opening of a grocery store isn’t that big of a deal. But when you add great bargains and free stuff, suddenly the place was packed with people.

At first I followed my Mom through the huge store and patiently waited while she set out to get the best deals, but it wasn’t long before the fancy displays caught my eye and eventually I wandered off. It also wasn’t long before I found myself in an unfamiliar isle, jammed packed with strangers, and I did what any kid would do: I panicked. I no longer cared about entering contests, getting free stuff, and finding my favorite cereal. All I wanted was for my Mom to find me in the crowd.

Finally, after wandering a little more and keeping my eyes peeled, I caught a glimpse of her in the flood of people. The relief was incredible and for the rest of our day shopping I stayed glued to her side.

I think I’ll always remember this incident for two reasons. First off, it was then that I realized that being lost was one of the worst feelings that there is. And secondly it was a learning experience to realize that the second I didn’t know where my Mom was, nothing else mattered. The reason I had wandered off wasn’t important. The dissatisfaction of being told “no” earlier was no longer there. Nothing was as important as finding my Mom in the crowd.

On that I day I learned an important lesson: always know where your parents are. And as much as I wish I can say that I did, the truth is, only recently have I learned to carry this lesson over into my spiritual life as well.

Let’s admit it here and now: it’s very easy to lose sight of God in our lives. Life can be like one huge grocery store with lots of flashy things that catch our attention. And sometimes in the midst of all of it, we can forget to keep our eyes on Christ. We’ll be looking straight at Him, then pass by something else that catches our attention and before we know it, start walking in the opposite direction. Sure, we’ll try to keep Him in the corner of our eye, but the further away we wander, the harder it is.

So suddenly we find ourselves alone in the midst of a noisy crowd. Disoriented. With no idea how to find our way back. And on the inside we find we’re nothing more than seven year olds who want our Parent to find us.

Isn’t it a relief to know that even though our earthly parents don’t always know where we are, our heavenly Father always does? We may lose eye contact, but He keeps His eyes on us all the time.

Psalm 139:3 tells us as much: “You chart the path a head of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment You know where I am.”

Every moment He knows where we are. We could go to the end of the earth, cut every tie with every person we know and still He would know exactly where we are. With God there is no such thing as “hide” in “hide and seek”.

We may chase after our own version of items in a grocery store, but He knows exactly where we are. And even better than that, He pursues us even when we're in that place.

Psalm 139 goes on to say (verses 7-12):

"I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride on the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night-
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you."

Even in the darkness we cannot hide from Him. We can turn out the lights. We can lock the door. But He’s outside, knocking and patiently waiting for us to open up.

What a relief and comfort to know that even if we get lost, even if we take off running, He’s never further than a cry for help away.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.