Being lost is a frightening thing!
Being lost in the woods is particularly frightening when we are small! The strangest thing is that you can also be lost in a crowd, surrounded on every side by people and no way out.
We live in a day when we have lots of Christians either lost in the woods or have simply disappeared in the crowd and not only are they lost to themselves, but they are also lost to us as friends and to the church as “lively stones”.
|Many today find themselves lost without any way of knowing how to find their way “back home”.
Estrangement from those who could help us makes the task even more difficult. To some the way back seems too far so that they settle for simply existing where they are, but are often overwhelmed by a sense of being disconnected and having lost their sense of belonging and of destiny.
Many of those who have become lost got there because of what we call ”church wars” or “church burnout” or because of disillusionment with religion and religious leaders. These folk today find themselves far away from where they want to be and some are even asking the question “How can I get home?”
The Bible has a familiar story, which we refer to as the story of the Prodigal Son, and my thoughts have been turning there as I think about this situation that so many believers are facing in their lives. When we are hurt or otherwise distressed one of the things we do is we actually distance ourselves from the people and things that have hurt us.
Although the prodigal son did not fit this description the Bible tells us “he went off into a far country” He put distance between his family and the community that would normally have given the support and encouragement he needed. The next thing that happens is that when the break has taken place between our immediate past and the pain of it, we seek distraction. In the case of the Prodigal son it simply says “he wasted his money on riotous living”. The thing that so frequently happens to “lost Christians” is that they simply throw away all their values and inheritance in an attempt to block out the pain and distress they have experienced and this in turn leads them to self rejection and self-loathing. The Prodigal son reached the point of such loathing and disgust that he landed up in the worst possible place for a Jew , in the pig pen eating pig food… truly the bottom of the food chain.
There was a moment that came to him of realization and for those believers who have lost their way it is the crucial first moment in finding their way back home. This moment was when he realized, that in spite of all he had been through, in spite of his rebellion, and bitterness, HE WAS STILL A SON.
He finally reached that place, of saying “ I do have a Father” which means he knew and recognized that he had an unbroken relationship that had not depended on him alone to maintain it.
Finding our way back home as Christians, means that we must come to the point of recognizing that our behaviour has not broken the only meaningful relationship in our lives. However many other relationships we have abandoned en route, our relationship with the Father is still intact and can be relied on.
After the first realization comes the first important step of action for anyone who is seeking to “find their way home” The Prodigal said “ I am going to get up and go to my FATHER”.
This was not a decision to return to church, not a decision to forgive those who had hurt or abused him, or even to forgive himself for his own foolishness. He was not thinking about it or wishing he could, he actually began the long journey back to the only one person who could help him……THE FATHER!
Coming home is only accomplished when we begin the journey back by actively and personally pursuing HIM.
What a Father He is! This son found out that His Father had never ceased to look for him expectantly and only wanted his total restoration and acceptance. We cannot comprehend when we are so lost that Father never ceases to look for us and love us.
He needed no one to guide him on his journey to the Father, neither do we! There was no need for a GPS or a road map, the Fathers love was totally the homing point.
Key to finding our way back home is to make a movement, any movement in the direction of Father and we will find him already more than half way to meet us
Finding Father, was the first real step to coming home. Dealing with our problems with our brothers and sisters and our place in Fathers House, are not the prime issues to be considered here. I am going to look at that in my next posting on this subject.