A couple of years ago, I feel completely lost.
I had just stepped away from a career (full-time pastoral ministry) in which I’d spent my entire adult life. I was disillusioned with the nature of the evangelical church in America. And I had big questions about myself, God, and the Bible.
The problem is when I say the word lost, most of us tend to think of that in the way that Evangelical Christians in America have typically used the word – to signify that one has yet to discover the insider truth about God‘s great plan of salvation for sinners by grace through faith in Christ crucified according to the scriptures.
If you have that information and believe it, you’re “saved.” If you don’t believe it, whether you’ve heard the message or not, you’re “lost.”
But I was saved when I was a kid. I knew and followed Jesus. I had a close relationship with the church and understood the message quite well. And I had clung to this gospel message as my one hope for eternal life.
And yet… I was still lost.
What I needed then wasn’t salvation, but direction. And I also needed to understand that being lost wasn’t entirely bad.
After all, until we realize and acknowledge that we’re lost, we’ll never ask for help or seek a better sense of direction. (I added the “and acknowledge” part because, as a guy, I can attest to having been lost before but being entirely unwilling to admit it or to ask anyone for directions.)
The question is, why do we get lost, to begin with? I think, perhaps, we feel most lost when we are overwhelmed by the size and scope of our surroundings and are confronted by our own finiteness and limitations.
When I come to terms with the fact that the known universe is over 94 billion light years across and that I’m about six feet tall, I feel lost. When I know that life exists only on Earth according to my limited knowledge, but that there are over 700 quintillion planets out there, I feel pretty lost.
And when I come to an ever-widening understanding of the infinitude of God and the fragility and brevity of life, I feel quite lost.
And… what if the realization of our finiteness just drives us to the need for connection and revelation? Maybe being “lost“ is exactly what God wants us to feel when he knows that we need more of him in our lives.
Being lost, at least in this sense, isn’t the problem. The problem is our unwillingness to admit we need a bit of direction now and then and we don’t have all the answers within ourselves.
By the way, we all need models, mentors, and guides from time-to-time. If you feel lost lately, or you simply want to develop a more healthy spirituality, consider seeking spiritual direction.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.