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THE WORST KIND OF LOST-NESS

“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:8

Have you ever been lost? I’ve been lost in the woods in the daylight, and as much as it is very unsettling, you at least have a sense of hope because you can see. There is always the possibility of detecting something familiar; a clearing, a ravine you recognize or a path you could follow. You can at least walk and search in the daylight.

However, being lost in the dark is exponentially more unnerving.

When I was twenty my brother invited me to his hunting camp in the deep woods of the Pennsylvania Mountains. One night we were inside the cabin talking about hunting deer and bear. There was no refrigerator so we kept our sodas in the stream about thirty feet from the cabin to keep them cold.

On an impulse, I rose from my seat and went outside to get a soda and didn’t think to get my flashlight. There was only one small window in the cabin but it was on the other side of the building.

By the time the door swung shut behind me, I was about fifteen feet from the door and fifteen feet from the stream; and I was in total darkness. I couldn’t see a thing…and I froze.

I looked up into the sky hoping to gain light from the stars or the moon but apparently they were obscured by clouds. Nor could I see a tree’s outline. Everything around me was completely undetectable, under a cover of pitch-blackness. At that moment, I had the presence of mind to put my hand up about three inches in front of my face to see if I could detect it; but I couldn’t see it either.

In the course of my developing predicament, I got turned around and realized I didn’t know which way the cabin was. I silenced myself hoping to hear talking and laughter from the inside. But I couldn’t detect a single voice, partly because the genuine rustic log cabin was so sound-proof, and partly because the sound of running water was filling my ears.

Then I thought, the cabin door was in the direct opposite direction of the stream…and I listened to hear direction from the trickling water. But as I listened I realized that the stream looped around the cabin so it sounded like the running water was all around me. I had no idea where to go. I was frozen in my tracks and completely lost.

All of this came over me in about thirty seconds.

Then I thought for a few moments that soon my eyes would adjust, but they didn’t. Everything stayed completely black.

One of the discussions in the cabin had been about an incident a few years earlier when one of them had come outside, looked up into the moonlit sky and coming down from the tree above him was an enormous black bear. Well, just about the time I had exhausted all of my seeing and directional options, I heard a sound in the trees above me and my imagination went wild.

I am not sure how I got back in the cabin, but I must have looked like a ghost. The next time I went outside, I took my flashlight.

There was another time in my life when I was lost in the dark, but it wasn’t physical darkness. It was spiritual darkness. However, the issues concerning my spiritual lost-ness were just as real but much more unsettling because they didn’t have to do with a moment in time. They had to do with my whole life.

I thought I knew which way to go…but I didn’t. Each direction I took in life led to a dead end and made me feel more lost. I was a modern day example of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 in the Bible. As it was with him, I wasn’t lost in the geography of earth. My lost condition was in my heart.

I tried wild living to find satisfaction. I tried relationships. I tried possessions. I tried sports. I would say I tried money but didn’t have any to try. I was, however, intent to try anything but God.

Then I woke up enough to think…perhaps the direction I am looking for in life is in the Christian faith I was brought up with. I didn’t jump in the deep end right away. I waded in slowly, testing the waters over a few months. As I did I became less resistant than I was and more favorably disposed in the direction of becoming a Christian; and finally I dove in.

When I did, all the uncertainty I had about my lost-ness faded. I realized that the directional tool I was missing was partly a moral compass. But even more than that, it was a true north alignment to my way back home.

When I finally decided for Christ, I came home. Dad (my Heavenly Father) and I were good again. I was His child and Jesus was my brother. And heaven was back on the horizon of my life and future. I Peter 2:11 tells us that we are actually only visitors on earth. Our real home is in heaven. When we find the Lord (who actually finds us), we are lost no more. We have found our way back home.

I would love to hear from you! Email me: chris@chrisschimel.com or Facebook.

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