When someone feels lost it could mean at least a couple of different things. It could mean that they are lost (duh!). It could also mean that they think they are lost, but they aren’t. It could also mean that they know they aren’t lost, they just feel like they are. At various times and in different ways I have experienced all of these. I wonder where other people find themselves sometimes. Most have the appearance of confidence, a not lostness about them. Maybe I can give off that vibe too. I think I flit between the second and third categories (acknowledging full well that it is possible I am always in the first). My guess is that due the circumstances in our lives there are times when we just don’t know and are left to question. Maybe it is the loss of a job. Perhaps it is an illness that is threatening to end this life. Possibly a series of events has left you feeling hopeless. Maybe there is a crossroads and which turn to take remains a mystery.
I know people in all of these categories and more. I can find myself knowing exactly where I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to be doing and in fact accomplishing it…and yet still feel lost. I wish life was as simple as just knowing the way every time and the feelings always followed. However, I don’t think it is as simple as that. A few reflections on my side as I stand in one place, having the conflicting thoughts of knowing where I am and feeling lost at the same time. Maybe it will apply to the different categories of lostness and help some of us.
In my faith journey one of the things that I have come to appreciate is that God ‘knows’. By ‘knows’ I don’t mean he doesn’t know, but that He knows everything. If there is no where I can go where He is not present in His ability to affect things His ability is greater than mine. If before the foundation of this world He knew everything, everything that could happen, that would happen and that will happen and devised plans to accomplish His purposes, I think He knows more than me. When going on a trip using GPS or a map is helpful, especially if you are traveling somewhere you have never been before. If you don’t have either, an even better alternative is to take someone with you who has been there before. What surpasses even that is to take the owner of the land with you.
In God, we find all three. Scripture shows us how to live this life. God’s Spirit is always with those who believe to guide and counsel and direct. God Himself, the author of life and creator of all things is with us. Perhaps we are in a situation where we find it difficult to receive from God’s word. Sometimes it feels (though it is far from true) that God is far off. The truth that remains is perhaps the most significant. Maybe we don’t know where we are going and ‘feel’ lost. In a world where God is God and we are His, this feeling doesn’t translate into reality. For to be truly lost, we don’t know where we are and neither does anyone else. If God doesn’t exist I would agree that the feeling of lostness is a reality. It is worse than just a feeling, it is actually true. And it is true whether you feel lost or not because there is actually no where to go. When one feels lost it actually reflects the reality everyone else who is living without God is in, the difference being they think they aren’t. Let’s break this down a bit so as to avoid the situation where someone thinks I am saying everyone without God doesn’t do anything, isn’t productive or doing anything meaningful or doesn’t know what they are doing at all. In a reality where God does not exist a person is born, grows, interacts with others, does stuff and then dies, having no more meaning or purpose to their existence than the rock, monkey, or comet. Lostness is a reflection of the meaninglessness of life and is not a part, but the whole of it.
If you feel lost what is there to fall back upon? If there is no God, then one would have to manufacture some sort of meaning in the parts to justify continuing in the meaningless whole. Pause for effect…But if there is a God, then whether you lose your bearings, feel lost, lose your way or whatever else might transpire in this crazy world, a loving God is always there and He knows exactly where you are. Removing God doesn’t do anything other than ensure one’s true lostness. Inserting God isn’t done in order to just get by with the proverbial crutch, though I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging our need and God as the provider of that need. Saying that God is there is the truth and the foundation upon which we rest when our emotions and our perceptions leave us feeling lost.
We are either lost and hopeless because that is all there is or we feel lost, but in reality we aren’t or don’t need to remain that way. For those that are lost may God show us the way. For those who feel lost may God show us the truth. For those that don’t feel lost and find no need for God may He show us true life.