About six years ago I found myself in Beijing, China. My wife and I had been praying about our next steps for some time and had been given an opportunity to visit a missionary there who said he’d introduce me to some of his ministry partners.
While on this 14 day trip I began to become more acquainted with the usual routes; you know, the route to the grocery store, to the private school, to the badminton gym, and of course to the best local noodle joint. I had become so comfortable in fact that I asked to borrow the moped to head to the grocery store. They gave me the thumbs up and off I went.
I’ll have you know that I nailed it getting there. I didn’t miss a single turn and was able to pick up all the fun stuff I wanted. Unfortunately, on the way back, I made a wrong turn. Not only did I make a wrong turn, I also forgot where I had just come from so I couldn't retrace my steps.
This may not sound like a big deal to you, but might I just add, I was in one of the largest cities in the world with no cell phone (or Google Maps), no language skills, and a moped that was running out of juice. I was lost. I had no direction.
You may not have a “lost in China” story, but I’m sure you have felt lost, so you know the feelings: anxiety, fear, doubt, loneliness. Yeah, all the crappy ones. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to be lost in China to feel these things. Sometimes it comes as you are heading to graduation day and you don’t know what to do. Other times you are 30, single, and living in a podunk town in Wyoming. Other times you are in the middle of a broken marriage and you don’t know what to do. You are lost and your “moped” is running out of juice.
No matter what your situation is, no matter how hard it may be, let me give you a few quick encouragements:
1. You are not alone. Your situation may feel like the only one out there but the simple fact that you can relate to my story, even though you have never even been to China, reveals that you and I make a community of at least two (I’m guessing 6 billion +) people who have felt lost and alone. But my friend, you are not.
David says in Psalm 139:7-10:
God is with you. You may not feel Him in those dark times, but He always is. So don’t let you fear drown out the promises of God! As again, David says in Psalm 26:3, "The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters."
That Psalm is meant to remind you of God’s power but also of His tenderness as it talks about His awareness and involvement even in the birth of deer (weird, but encouraging).
2. You have Scripture. As Paul tells young Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." God’s word should be our authority, conscience and guide. Through it we know our relationship with God; we know how to think; and ultimately what to do.
A week prior to getting lost on the moped I remember seeing this huge boulder with Chinese inscriptions on it outside of an office tower. I noticed it because at the time I was an avid rock climber. Almost every day after that we would pass by it and I would think, “Man, I want to climb that thing.”
Fast forward a week and I was scrambling around on a moped, feeling hopeless and lost. Suddenly, I saw the boulder. This time I wasn’t thinking about how I wanted to climb it. Instead I felt peace because one, it was a familiar sight, and two, I now knew how to get home.
Scripture, when we visit it every day, has the same affect on us believers. Some of you, praise God, read it every day. Some days you don’t think you get anything out of it, but you do it anyway. DON’T STOP! Because days will come when your faith in God will be tested and it’s on those days that you don’t need a street marker, you need the rock-solid TRUTH of God’s word. The reminder that God will never leave you or forsake you (Duet. 31:6). The reminder that His steadfast love never ceases and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). The reminder that though you plan your way, He will set your steps (Prov. 16:9). And so many more.
Friend, if you are not in Scripture, you are not safe. You are leaving yourself open to any and every “truth” the enemy wants to throw at you. Instead, listen to the words of Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus says the Lord: 'Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.'”
Psalm 119:9 & 11 add, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word…I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."
3. You have others. If I had been with my missionary friend on that trip to the grocery store, I wouldn’t have gotten lost. He’d been down that way thousands of times. Me, I was a newcomer. Friends, when it comes to earth, we are all newcomers. That’s why the writer of Hebrews encourages us to "consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (10:24-25)."
Hopefully you are actively a part of a local church. If not, we’d love to talk with you about that. Let’s not make a habit of going it alone. Proverbs 18:1 tells us, "whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement." Instead, let’s surround ourselves with the people of God, especially those who have a little less tread on their tires.
So friends, you are not alone, you have Scripture, and you have others. We hope this encourages you in your journey with Jesus. If you know someone who could also benefit from this resource, send them a link. If you need prayer, let us come alongside you! Till next time!Sharable Quotes: