Thursday, December 22, 2005

lost and searching

Have you ever been lost? You may have been in your car or maybe in the woods. Maybe you were in an unfamiliar place trying to locate a particular destination. It can be confusing and frustrating to be lost. But one thing is for sure. You want to find your way either back from where you came or to where you were going. No one who realizes that they are lost wants to stay that way.

Experts say that if you are a child and you are lost in the woods then you should stay where you are. The thinking is that someone will come and find you. But who can really stay in one spot. What if no one comes? The thought is too overwhelming. We have to keep finding our own way. We have to find our way out. We have only ourselves to rely on. Or at least that is how we feel.

All of this begs the question, "If you are lost but don't realize it, then are you really lost?" If you are on your way to a Christmas party at a co-workers house, but can't find it, then you might be considered by some in your car to be lost. But until you admit that you are lost, you are still just "searching." If you are still on the hunt, if you are still wandering around searching for that particular house on that particular street, then you aren't exactly lost. You are simply still finding your way. If you indeed find your way, you were never lost. You were just taking the scenic route.

I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see. We don't use the language of lost anymore. When we hear that language we might consider it out of date or offensive. Christians that use that language must be "fundies" or insensitive evangelicals. Jesus told parables about sheep, coins and sons wandering off and becoming lost. The first two were found, and the last found his way home. All of them were, in one way or another, lost.

We hear a lot about folks trying to "find themselves." I guess that means they lost themselves in some way. We hear about folks "finding their way." But my guess is that they are lost and are too proud to admit it. Much like what we do in our cars. For some, their families and our culture have repeatedly told them to "get lost." And so they have. They might even be able to admit to you that they are. For those who can admit to their lostness, they have already taken the first step home. This is good news, because even the prodigal son found a warm embrace waiting for him at home. And in his case, it seemed as if the love of his father found him even before he found home.


At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, and I thought I was going to get a decent commentary on the hit ABC show on Wednesday nights.

Seriously, I think a lot of that show is trying to parallel what you're talking about. Yeah, the people are lost on the island, but they're also lost in life before their plane ever crashes.

It's interesting how people can be characterized as "lost", when, not only do they not know where they are, they don't know what their destination is.

At 3:18 AM, Blogger The Table Guy said...

Christy and I just finished watching the first season of Lost on DVD. Very good, by the way. The other night we were watching and Christy says "I think Jack has a Mark Stephenson kind of personality." After a few more minutes I kind of agreed. Anway, that's what this made me think of.

Slightly more related....

I struggle with this word. I understand the reasoning for not using it.....all the things you've mentioned, but I also know that it is a word that Jesus you've also mentioned.

Interestingly, it seems Jesus uses this, at least sometimes (if not most) to refer to the lost sheep of Israel. (as I recollect). A "Lost" person is not someone void of relationship with God, it is someone who has wandered from their home, or in the case of the coin, been misplaced or fallen off the table. The owner, creator, redeemer, shepherd, scavenger, etc will sell all he has, risk everything, to bring that person or thing back home.

A highly valuable commodity it seems.

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