One day when I was five years old, I was following my mother up and down the aisles of Miller’s Department Store in Jackson, Mississippi. I remember this because when I reached up to take her hand, she was surprised. She was surprised because she was not my mother. I was lost. I could have run through the store yelling “Mom” at the top of my lungs, but I knew my mother was already looking for me, so I stood still, looked around, and waited.
The one sheep should not have wandered off. The prodigal son should not have left home. But the coin finds itself at the bottom of the sock drawer through no fault of its own.
Most of the time when we feel lost, we cannot figure out where we took the wrong turn. Part of our frustration comes from not being able to spot our mistake. We planned to stay with the flock, with our family, or with the rest of the quarters in the change jar. Then something beyond our control, like gravity, led to us sliding off the dresser. We feel helpless, like this is not our fault, like we are reaching for a hand that is not there. We cannot find our way back on our own. We want to yell at the top of our lungs.
In our worst moments, our heavenly mother is looking for us, more concerned than we are, and ready to take us in her arms. God is searching carefully, preparing for a party, ready to call friends and neighbors to celebrate. God is coming for us, so we need to be still, look around, and wait.
When do you feel lost? When do you feel God coming to find you?
God, who loves me enough to keep looking, help me be still enough to be found, and smart enough to celebrate. Amen.