Have You Ever Been Lost?

Have you ever lost your way?  Many of us have been following along with the story of First Pres’ own Cathy and Rick, who were lost (and found, thank God!) in the great West Texas desert last year.  I have never been lost in the literal sense. I’ve never wandered for days without food or water. But, I have been lost.  I’ve wandered in a vast desert of uncertainty, doubt, anger and fear.

Like the children of Israel, I had grown weary of the promises of church leaders.  “If you pray hard enough, God will grant you the desires of your heart”, or “God rewards the faithful, but there is no reward for those who disobey the Word of the Lord and His shepherd”.  Surely, I thought, if I pray enough, live right, act right, talk right and do everything I’m told, God will bless me.  There is no disappointment so crushing as losing faith in God’s promises.  I survived, day after day, as the faith I knew and the promises I sought slipped away and the hope slowly drained away.

To the Israelites, the golden calf was a beautiful reward for a faith that came out of agony and heartbreak when their own god had forsaken them.  A golden calf could not admonish or hurt or condemn.  It was merely a placeholder for faith when the truth of abandonment seemed too much to bear.

The beauty in being lost is the moment when you are found.  Much like the children of Israel, I wandered and was lost, lost in a confusing world that didn’t make sense.  My center of gravity had shifted, my old life left behind and a bewildering openness lay before me.  In my fear and loneliness, I constructed a god that fit the mold of my life.  It was clean and simple to worship this golden calf god than to wait patiently for my Savior to descend the mountain and bring me peace.  But He did come down.  He came with reassurance and beauty.  The crushing weight of disappointment and anger fled in the face of such glorious love.  How could I have doubted that He was for me?  How could I have railed at myself for my insecurities when He was waiting to soothe my fears?  Grace was the missing element in my life, the final puzzle piece. God didn’t need me to strive so hard for his love and support.  God didn’t need me to build a mental statute to worship. God directed me to a place of grace, a place of calm and ritual, a place with individuals who would help me stand up to my fears and regain my lost hope.

Where would I be? You only know.

I’m glad You see through eyes of love.

A hopeless case, an empty place,

If not for grace.

 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

I once was lost, but now I’m found.

A hopeless case, an empty place,

If not for grace.
(lyrics – Clint Brown, If Not For Grace)

–A

 

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