A pastor at a family camp we recently attended posed a question that got us all thinking: “What is one thing that you would absolutely hate to lose?”
Curious to hear other’s answers, I listened. Would they mention the all-too-easy-to-lose keys and wallet or jewelry and glasses, etc.? Oh no! The kids who spoke up first weren’t materialistic. Their answers were “an arm,” or “my leg.” My daughter Alina shouted, “My head!” which brought a lot of laughs and basically ended the discussion.
From there, the pastor proceeded to tell the Bible story about Bartimaeus who had lost his sight. But for a moment, my mind was still wrapped up in my own answer, a hypothetical loss that gives me chills just to think about—my kids. What could be more horrifying than to lose my own kids? How earnestly, tirelessly, desperately I would search if one of my children were lost!
A few years ago, while we were still living in Surin, Thailand, there were reports of some men in a van abducting children whom they most likely smuggled into Cambodia to sell as slaves, or worse. One Sabbath around that time, during a church potluck, Shannon interrupted a conversation I was having with a church member. Her face was worried. “Chris, have you seen JJ? I can’t find him anywhere.” Immediately I dropped my conversation and walked, then jogged around the perimeter of the church property calling, “Jeshua! JJ!” I was getting more worried with each stride, envisioning vans filled with evil men.
Praise God, JJ was found playing somewhere near our radio station. But for that moment when he was still lost, I realized the painful truth: the one thing I would absolutely hate to lose would be my children. What wouldn’t I give to get my lost kids back?
With that perspective, it’s easier to sympathize with another Father who has not one, but a multitude of children who are lost and dying. What effort, what expense would be too much to find these precious souls and bring them back to their Father’s arms?
Dear God, help us remember that our neighbors across the street as well as the lost people around the world are not just nameless strangers, but Your own children. Help us, as their brothers and sisters, to move with appropriate urgency to reach them before it’s eternally too late!