As an elementary school kid growing up in Tokyo, I had more freedom than I did as an older kid once we moved back to the United States. Tokyo was known for its safety when we lived there. School kids were often alone on buses, sidewalks, and subways.
My first playdate with a friend was scheduled sometime in the second or third grade. I rehearsed our plans for meeting and counted how many stops until Shinjuku station, again and again. We met under the big clock outside the station and had the best time. It was going home that I hadn’t rehearsed as much. I’d figured if I made it there, it would be easy to get home again.
I went back to the station I’d arrived at and got on the subway, remembering the number of stops back. I counted them as the train slowed and quickened, only this time the names sounded unfamiliar. I got up to look at the map, trying to sound out the names, looking for my stop. Then it dawned on me that I was on a subway going in the wrong direction. I got off at the next stop and the sinking feeling of being lost weighed heavy on my shoulders. The strangers I was surrounded by seemed even more strange as my mind moved from panic to thoughts of what to do next.
I used to have dreams of being lost with no way home as a kid. I don’t know if they came after this experience or before it, but what I do know is how afraid I’ve been of being lost, in every sense of the word. Being a Christian has only heightened it in some ways. Early on in my faith journey, when I was still getting to know Jesus, I wondered and asked many a mentor if there was a point of no return. I wanted to know if one could ever be so lost they wouldn’t be able to come home again.
Haven’t you wondered the same?
It’s easy to take security in knowing. We’re comforted by map lines and boundaries. We love knowing where we are and who we are and what the next stop is. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s healthy and good to know where we are, and using the tools we have to guide and safeguard us are good things.
But knowing what it means to be found requires the prerequisite of being lost.
When I finally figured out how to get on the right subway, the feeling of joy and relief was unparalleled. I sat on the bench with my skinny knees clapping for joy. Home meant something more than it had meant just thirty minutes prior. I found a payphone and called home to tell my parents and found them already trying to figure out what had happened, having kept their eyes on the time, aware of where I should have been and when. Home was watching out for me and looking for me even when I didn’t know where I was or how to get where I was supposed to be.
When we are most lost, we are no less loved. When we are most lost, Home — God — is looking for us. There is always a way back home, even when we can’t see it.
I’ve felt a little lost post pandemic, or if we aren’t post pandemic, post year one of the pandemic. All the changes and shifts within me and surrounding me keep me feeling like I’m on the wrong train, going nowhere fast, and alone.
I thought being where we are would mean community in the ways I understood community before, but it hasn’t been that. It’s been awkwardness and clumsy footing, emptiness and loneliness, and a recurring dream-turned-reality of lostness.
Maybe you feel it too, friend — lost and a little weary of trying to find your way back to something. You aren’t alone, and Home is looking for you. You don’t have to strive or hustle. You don’t have to try to set your ducks back into neat rows or control the outcomes that won’t let you control them anyway. Lost is just the place where we become found. And found is the adjective we are meant to know and live from.
Jesus went out of His way again and again to teach His disciples that He was the Home that never stopped searching for those who were lost. From leading by example to parables He told, He answered our lostness with Himself.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’”
Luke 15:3-7 (NLT)
No matter how lost you feel today, Home is already on the way with love in the lead.Leave a Comment