Sometimes I take a moment of personal reflection, considering my life and what I’ve done, and I think, “My poor mother!” One memory that makes me say that is one from my early childhood. I must have been six or seven, and I was at a Christian music festival when I reenacted every parent’s worst nightmare: I got lost. Once I realized I was alone, I did what my parents had instructed me to do in that situation: I found someone who gave me directions to our RV site, and I went to wait. I can only imagine the terror I put my parents through—especially my mother, who was both infuriated and overjoyed when they finally discovered me.
Now, I insist that I wasn’t technically lost. After all, I knew exactly where I was; I was just alone. I only asked someone for directions because that’s what my parents told me to do. In all fairness, isn’t that the certainty we have when we’re lost and don’t realize it?
The fact that many people are lost is clearly evident in the way they live. Often they don’t realize it, and if do, they don’t always choose to seek the appropriate guidance to remedy their situation. More often than not, they are confident that they have everything under control. They think they know where they’re going and how to get there.
Of course, this isn’t something I can exclusively lay at the feet of unbelievers, pointing to them with the claim, “Look at those guys! They don’t know what they’re doing!” The truth of the matter is sometimes it’s easy to get off the beaten path, to walk with your head held high in confidence without looking at where your feet are going. Then, in a fit of sanity, you look around and notice that you not only don’t know where you are, but you’re not sure where you’re going.
I wonder if that was the situation David found himself in when Nathan confronted him about Bathsheba. Now that was a situation where David got himself good and lost. It was only when he acknowledged what he had done and sought forgiveness that he found his way back to God.
Honestly, at the festival, the idea that I was lost never even entered my mind. It was only after I was found that it registered. That’s not the perspective my mother had. I’m sure she had every horrible scenario make its rounds in her head. Just as my parents were searching high and low for me, we have a Father in heaven that will go to the ends of the earth to seek us when we lose our way.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” (Luke 15:4-6).