Today I felt sort of… lost.
I was in the same places I usually am on any given day. No, it was more like my head had frozen into a tilt and everything had become angled and squinty. Perhaps some of the carefully-catalogued thoughts I store in the shelves of my mind had escaped their drawers and were lying strewn on the floor of my brain. Perhaps they’d been there awhile, blown out by the uncertainty that’s defining this season of my life.
I am in a season of being remade. Refashioned into a different purpose. I suppose it’s common to middle age; it’s just that it doesn’t matter how many articles you read or people you talk to, nothing prepares you for change except to go through it. So I am a little lost. A little stuck in the woods, trying to navigate a leaf-choked path. It’s too much to hope for signposts; if I’m lucky I might see a few faintly marked tree trunks. But I like answers and maps and sure things. When we hike for real, I always pick the circular routes so I won’t ever have to repeat any part of the path.
If God knows I’m lost, and I have to believe He does, then that makes me feel like the little girl in the classroom frantically waving her hand so the teacher will see. But other than a few glances my way, God hasn’t picked me yet.
Lost things are all over the Bible. Lost people, lost possessions, lost tempers, lost relationships. All this lostness is ironic because I’m pretty sure God always knows where things are. Take lost sheep, for example. Biblical shepherds are forever finding some bedraggled sheep. Sheep don’t seem adventuresome to me; they spend all their time in a huddle eating grass. Yet Scripture points them out as the premier example of lost things because they always seem to be going astray. Either ancient sheep had problems, or there’s more to this story.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells a story of how a shepherd left his 99 sheep to go and get the one who was lost. He found it and brought it home, and everyone rejoiced. Jesus’ point is that He’s the shepherd of souls, whose purpose is to find and rescue the spiritually lost among us. I never paid much attention to this story because I counted myself among the 99 who were already rescued. I’ve spent years “in the sheepfold”.
But when you feel a little lost, you suspect maybe you’re that one sheep. And then you start to hope you are because maybe it means Someone will come find you. You’re pretty sure you can’t get back alone. My uncertain season has caused the Shepherd to seem really, really far away. I’m holding out hope that those whispers of signs along the trail, the ones I barely noticed because I was looking for neon signs, really are signs that the Shepherd is finding me, that I’m moving toward Him after all.
I’m holding out hope that the Shepherd always finds the lost ones. And when the lost get found, there’s joy.
Photo via Visual Hunt