When You Feel Lost

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“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” -Jesus, Luke 19:10

A few years ago my family and I went on an adventure into the wilderness of Canada, a remote and vast area of rivers and lakes known as Quetico. It was epic. With no phones or technology, we had a few days to undergo media detox and reorient ourselves to the God of creation. We dodged a few thunderstorms and swatted some very large mosquitos along the way, but otherwise, the experience was unforgettable.

At one point in our adventure, my tribe got a little turned around and could not determine where we were on the map. Frantic, I looked up to see where the sun was positioned so that I could figure out which direction we were heading – north, south, east, or west – but because the clouds were so thick, the sun was not to be found. I was completely disoriented.

Just between you and me, for a moment I was scared we wouldn’t find our way out.

This is what it was like for Job at a certain point in his journey. He didn’t think he was going to make it out of the maze of circumstances he was facing. After going through some hellacious problems, Job got completely turned around in his head. In fact, he says he was so lost that he couldn’t even find God anymore:

I go east, but He is not there. I go west, but I cannot find Him. I do not see Him in the north, for He is hidden. I look to the south, but He is concealed.” -Job 23:8-9

Life in this world can be very confusing. Even people of faith can get rattled and lose their sense of direction. It happens. In these moments it seems as though God is playing hide and seek and He’s really good at it. No signs of Him, until…

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If you’ve read the story, you know that Job eventually regained his sense of direction and got his bearings straight again. Even though he was upside down and backwards for a time, he recovered. Briefly, here’s how it happened:

He took comfort in the fact that even though he couldn’t see God, God could see him. “But He knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold” (v. 10). At this point in the story, Job is still a bit lost, but he begins to recognize the landscape. It dawns on him that perhaps he was facing a test, a purifying oven of sorts, and that God was carefully overseeing the whole situation.

He stayed on the right path. “For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside” (v. 11). When you feel lost, it is tempting to take any path that leads somewhere other than where you are, but this is a mistake. For example, when your marriage is struggling, the thought of being with someone else has an appeal to it. Or, when it’s been a tough day and a shot of this or hit of that is calling your name, it is hard to say no. But as nice as it sounds, it will only lead you deeper into the wilderness. The best thing we can do when we feel lost is to remain committed to God’s path.

He locked in on the character of God. “So He will do whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny” (v. 14). Finally, what helped Job get reoriented was his remembrance of God’s attributes. Tempted to panic, instead Job sat still for a moment and reviewed what he knew to be true of God – that He knows all, He sees all, and ultimately, God – not man – is in complete control. Job remembered that his destiny was in God’s very capable hands.

In sum, Job found his way out of the wilderness by getting himself reoriented to God. It is as if he looked up, located the Son, and then pinpointed his exact location.

Feeling lost today? Resist the urge to panic. The best and fastest way to get your bearings is to set yourself down in the presence of God and start a conversation. You will find your way as He breaks through the clouds and once again, you see where you are in relationship to Him.

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.

“Tempted to panic, instead Job sat still for a moment and reviewed what he knew to be true of God – that He knows all, He sees all, and ultimately, God – not man – is in complete control.”

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