Separation Anxiety

Holding my daughter, Christmas 1986.

My childhood memories of going to the grocery store with my mom are not entirely pleasant. When we went shopping I had a tendency to get distracted by something and wander off. Sometimes I’d only be around the corner from her when I realized I was on my own and panic. Although you’d assume this is a fairly common occurrence with children, I apparently made an impression in one particular store. At an age when I could legally buy alcohol, a checker remembered me as the little boy who was always getting lost. How embarrassing! Truth is, to this day I still don’t have the best inner compass. My wife will know which door we came in. Me? I’ve got a decent shot if I can consult my phone’s GPS. How about you? Do you have a good sense of direction? There are definitely survival skills you can learn that will help you find your way home should you get lost, but all sorts of circumstances can present themselves which make that more difficult. Sometimes… we need to be rescued.

A different kind of lost is being lost spiritually. I’ll bet a lot of people are familiar with Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep, even if they didn’t learn it in Sunday school.
So he told them this parable:  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Luke 15:3-7
ESV

There is a unique tension, an anxiety in each of our lives that will persist until its resolution by God’s only son. God values each of us so much that He sent Jesus Christ to make a way for us to come home. No matter how far you wander, no matter how many self-help or self-discovery books you consult, in the final analysis there is only one shepherd qualified to bring you home. His name is Jesus.

When morning has broken
what night tried to repair,
and the confidence I sought
turning in
disappears
in the crisp morning air,
Jesus, don’t let me be lost.
I’m treading in
waters of trepidation.
My arms and legs are tired,
and I can’t catch my breath.
Feels like I’ll die from hesitation
if I don’t reach out to you.
Don’t let fear keep me
from the right destination.
Take my hand,
guide me with your truth.


©Joel Tipple 12/9/2019