It was a grand adventure. For a young mom with two preschoolers and an infant, taking Daddy to the airport was a HUGE deal. It didn’t happen very often, and the excitement of the trip to the airport helped to ease the anxiety of Daddy leaving for a few days. Seeing that big plane take off, then waving to the oblivious passengers, the joy of the moment turned into reality.
He was gone. I was alone. And I couldn’t find the car.
In the excitement of the moment, I had forgotten to memorize where we had parked the car. I don’t always pay attention well when he’s the one driving. I should have been more observant. I should have written down the exact location on my crude palm pilot (aka, my hand) like I often did to remind myself of things I absolutely needed to remember.
But I didn’t.
This was in the days before cell phones. And no, we didn’t have a newer model car with a remote that could magically cause it to honk or flash its lights.
I was lost. In a parking lot. At an airport. With three littles.
What a terrible feeling.
But feelings don’t dictate our actions, and I knew that I needed to be strong for my little ones and not show any fear. I knew that, but in reality I wanted to sit down in the middle of that parking lot and cry.
But I didn’t–yet.
Retracing my steps, I hauled those poor babies back into the airport (with no stroller, of course) and carefully monitored every step and turn, hoping to walk right to our car on the second try.
But it didn’t happen.
The Dallas-Ft. Worth airport is HUGE. It’s not just one airport, it’s five terminals, each with several parking lots. And my car was sitting out there somewhere, daring me to find it.
I hate that feeling. Lostness. It’s a feeling I love to forget.
Except when it comes to my faith.
You would think that after a person has felt the utterly helpless feeling of lostness, he/she would want to never look back.
But it’s crucial that I remember.
Jesus is clear in His instructions to those of us that have found His life-giving message:
“For the Son of Man has come to save the lost.” Matthew 18:11
He came. He knew we were lost, without hope of finding our way to God. Sin had separated us, and He took the penalty for our sin and provided a way out.
He rescued us!
And He wants us to help rescue others. To not forget what it feels like to be lost.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
You see, remembering what it feels like to be lost inspires me to want to help others be rescued.
Even when they don’t know they are lost.
You know the end of the story. We found the car eventually–after several failed attempts on three levels. My exhaustion paled in comparison to the relief I had when I finally found the car, parked in a completely different garage–right where we left it.
When you are feeling lost in this life, remember that God never leaves you or forsakes you. He’s always waiting for you to find Him, waiting to rescue you.
You would think that someone would have seen my distress–had seen the desperation of a young mom with three little ones and out of compassion, offered to help. But they didn’t. And I didn’t ask. (Why was I so stubborn?!)
God is compassionate. He does see. And He wants to help–He just wants you to ask.
“The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed His name Yahweh. Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:
‘Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.'” Exodus 34:5-7