Where Are You? Are You Lost? Or Have You Just Run Away.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  Luke 15:4

My thoughts this morning take me back to when my son was a little boy.   We would be shopping in the department store and all of a sudden he would come up missing.  I would look around and he would be gone from my side.

I’d call his name.

No response.

(My son, where are you?)

I would call it again.

No response.

(My son, where are you?)

Then panic would start to creep in around the edges of my heart like a piece of paper on fire.

Horrible thoughts would come into my mind.  What if?…

He liked to hide in the racks of clothes, so I would bend down and look under all the clothes racks for the tell tale sign of his little toddler legs giving him away.  I would always find him in a nearby rack, and when I would slide the clothes hangers away to expose his hiding place he would usually giggle and come running into my arms exclaiming, “Mommy, I was hiding from you.”

As he got older my worry over his disappearance eased.   I can remember one time in K-Mart, he was about 8 or 9, we didn’t even realize he was missing until a woman came up to us with my son holding her hand.  “Is this your boy?” She asked.  “You were lost and he came to the service desk to find you.”  I remember being so proud of him that he knew enough to get help when he knew “his parents were lost”.

When my son couldn’t find us that day I’m sure he was asking himself, “What if?…”

Deep sigh.

Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven: … a time to start looking and a time to stop looking…Ecc 3

My son is now 6 foot tall and 16 years old, but yesterday I experienced once again, that horrible question only a parent knows, “What if?…”

See, he was suppose to help my sister with her new house.  She hired him to help clean, rip out old carpet, paint, and the plethora of chores that come with home ownership.  As my son was turning the key in the truck to start it up so we could drive out there, I asked him a simple question, “Do you think those shorts you’re wearing will be warm enough if your Aunt has you working outside?”

It started with a simple question, but as menopausal moms and (disrespectful) teenage boy’s hormones and emotions go, 30 minutes later it ended up with me angrily…

…In your anger do not sin

…sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck stupidly, sinfully, ignorantly telling him as if that would help, “If you walk away from me don’t bother coming home!” ….

Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.  Psalm 27:10

…and my son, with walking stick in hand, walking away from me to my sister’s house.  A 10 mile hike.   That was at 11am.   As he cleared the railroad tracks I got out of the truck, slammed the door, and, fuming, went into the house.  I did not know what to do so I sat down and tried knitting.

(My son, where are you?)

That didn’t work.

I called my husband at work and explained what had happened and then asked him what I should do.  He told me to go after him.

So I did.

The only problem was I couldn’t find him.

(My son, where are you?)

I drove all the way out to my sister’s home expecting to see him walking along side the road.

Nothing.

(My son, where are you?)

I got out at my sister’s house and talked to her.  She hadn’t seen him.  I drove back expecting to see him around every corner.

Nothing!

(My son, where are you?!!!!)

I drove around our city.

Nothing.

(My son, where are you?)

I called my Mother-in-Law who lives nearby.

Nothing.

(My son, where are you?)

I started to feel the raw edges of panic begin to overwhelm me.

“Oh, Lord, bring my son home to me, please!”  My arms were already aching with  emptiness.

My husband called me to find out if there was any news.  I told him there was no new news, and he said he was leaving work early and would look for him on the way home.  He got home.

Nothing!

(My son, where are you?)

Some people reading this who have active outgoing teenagers might thing this was an over-reaction on our part, but you have to understand the town we live in has some really weird (and I mean weird!)  people, and also, this was highly unusual behavior from our son.  He NEVER left home alone.  He had no desire to EVER go anywhere alone.

The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents.  Genesis 25:27

I used to prod him to go, and he would say, “No, Mom.  I’m not like other kids.  I’m happy staying home.  I’m content here.”

It is now four hours later.  It is getting colder and the sun is quickly going down in the western sky.

No son.

No where.

He was only wearing a hoody and light cargo pants.

What if he’s  freezing by now?  What if I never see him again?  He hates the dark.  What if someone robbed him?  What if I never see him again?  What if he’s so angry that he never comes home?  What if he lost his way?  What if I never see him again?  What if he doesn’t know how to get home?  What if someone kidnapped him at gunpoint?  What if someone hit him with their car?  What if he’s lieing dieing in a ditch somewhere?  What if I never see him again?  How can I face the future without my son?  What if I never see him again?  What if my only son is gone forever and I never find out what happened to him?

(My son, where are you?)

What to do?

I asked my husband if we should file a missing person’s report so that we would at least have the sheriff’s office on the look out.  At first he thought we should wait 24 hours (24 hours?  Gasp! But it’s our teenage SON!) but when I reminded him that that is probably a rule they use only for adults, he ended up agreeing that it would be a good precautionary idea.  So that is what we did.

The Detective that came to our home was so sweet and helpful.  And I could hear the reassuring voice of experience speaking to my heart as he said to me in response to my tear-stained questions of how often this happens and the success rate of finding teenagers that walk away, “Ma’am, I’ve been doing this for 22 years and we haven’t lost one yet.”

Deep Sigh.

As the Detective drove out of the driveway the phone rang.  It was my Mother-in-Law, “Anything new?”

I told her that I had just finished filling out a missing person’s report and the detective was just leaving.  She paused a moment and then quietly asked me, “Was my grandson wearing a wine-colored jacket when he left?”

HOPE!

I said yes and she whispered, “He’s coming to my front door right now.”

Oh such sweet relief!

While he was still at a distance, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son, put his arms around him, and kissed him.  Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and you. I don’t deserve to be called your son anymore.’  “The father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let’s celebrate with a feast.  My son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.’ Then they began to celebrate.  “His older son was in the field. As he was coming back to the house, he heard music and dancing.  He called to one of the servants and asked what was happening.  “The servant told him, ‘Your brother has come home. So your father has killed the fattened calf to celebrate your brother’s safe return.’  “Then the older son became angry and wouldn’t go into the house. His father came out and begged him to come in.  But he answered his father, ‘All these years I’ve worked like a slave for you. I’ve never disobeyed one of your commands. Yet, you’ve never given me so much as a little goat for a celebration with my friends.  But this son of yours spent your money on prostitutes, and when he came home, you killed the fattened calf for him.’  “His father said to him, ‘My child, you’re always with me. Everything I have is yours.  But we have something to celebrate, something to be happy about. This brother of yours was dead but has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.'” Luke 15:17-32

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7

Abba Father, Thank you for bringing my son back to my arms.  Thank you for each and every individual person who was concerned, and helped out.  Bless their efforts 100 fold.   I can’t imagine how you feel  that your creation is lost to you.  I can’t imagine how your arms ache at your lost children, but I have a better understanding this morning.  Thank you for bringing my son home.  Thank you for  (as my son related to me afterwards)  keeping his mp3 player’s batteries working that entire time he was gone even though they were registering low from the start, so that he could keep Spiritual songs playing the entire time he wandered the city.  Thank you that he found respite at our church for a while.  Jesus, you are a good God, and my heart hurts for those who are lost, who run away from you, who just don’t understand they are separated from their God.  May they hear the voice of the Holy Spirit beseeching them to return to you for you will abundantly pardon them.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

…put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130:7

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About lifevine

Hi! My name is Amy. I am a former atheist and, for a season, practiced witchcraft. God drew me out of darkness 17 years ago and gave me the spiritual gifts of knowing and faith. He gives me daily encouragement and affirmation and I hope to share Him with you. If you have not yet met the one true God, His name is Jesus Christ, and may I be the first to introduce you to Him? He is the Restorative Savior God promised Adam and Eve 6,000 years ago (Genesis 3:15) after they had sinned in the garden, bringing separation from God because of disobedience. It is rightly reported that a little over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem He was born of a virgin, lived a blameless perfect life in and around Jerusalem, died on a cross on Golgotha for the world's sin, and 3 days later rose again. YES! ROSE AGAIN! AMAZING! Please get baptized in His name, and walk in an eternal restored fellowship with Christ. You can get to know Him by reading, marking, and inwardly digesting His Word.... His Holy Bible.
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One Response to Where Are You? Are You Lost? Or Have You Just Run Away.

  1. Jennifer says:

    Another well-written devotion. I like how you intertwined Scripture with your personal story.

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