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How To Find What You’ve Lost
I know this is probably a sensitive question, but have you lost anything in the past month? Have you looked everywhere you could think of? Maybe you were late for work trying to find your car keys? Or if you are a parent, did one of your kids maybe lose a textbook or a school jacket recently?
As much as we all try and pay attention to things, a UK study in 2016 found that on average, we typically misplace four items a month and our children lose seven per month.
Believe it or not, our kids are set to misplace more than 1,000 items during their school years and most of us will lose 3,000+ items in our lifetime – including 384 pens, 192 items of clothing and 64 umbrellas.
Vancouverites will probably lose a few more umbrellas.
If the world population is 7.9 billion and we all lose 3,000 items in our lifetime – that means there are potentially 23.7 Trillion or 23,700,000,000,000 items floating around out there either lost, found or in a lonely lost-and-found bin somewhere.
Here are the top ten most common items adults misplace (I’m surprised water bottles didn’t make this list):
- Pens (or other items of stationery)
- Glasses or sunglasses
- Remote controls
- Phone charger
- Bank cards
I feel for parents who not only deal with their own losses, but they get to experience their children’s top ten also:
- School sweaters/jackets
- School books
- Gym strip
As parents raising children at the beginning of the smartphone era, my wife and I enjoyed recovering a number of our kids’ lost (and destroyed) cellphones in places like our washing machine or outside in the snow.
The Agony of the Loss
Even if we lose something that’s not considered high value, we still deal with the emotions of frustration or sadness. When we lose something and can’t find it, it sits in the back of our mind as something unresolved. We feel responsible and sometimes horrible about losing it. There’s also a sense of frustration about the time we’ve taken up trying to find the item or the expense of having to replace it. It’s painful to think about.
I was recently chatting with a friend who, two years ago, lost his wedding ring and still hasn’t found it. As much as he and his wife have moved on, I could see that just mentioning it brought many of those feelings back for him.
But – when something we’ve lost is finally found, wow – what an amazing joy and relief! All our frustration is completely forgotten and we feel we can go forward with our lives.
Of course, these are just “things” we’re talking about. When we look at the lost-and-found of human relationships, it goes even deeper.
If we lose a friendship or a family member is estranged, or a marriage is broken up, or a brother or sister in Christ is no longer travelling together with us, the suffering and impact on our lives is even more profound.
But – think of the joy if those relationships can be reconciled.
The Joy of the Find
In Luke 15, Jesus shares three stories that speak to this: The Story of the Lost Sheep, The Story of the Lost Coin and The Story of the Prodigal Son.
Of the lost coin, Jesus said:
“Imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” Luke 15:8-10 MSG
It’s amazing to think that every time we help lead someone to Christ or help restore a relationship back to God, or help a wandering believer get back to flourishing in a local church community, not only do we experience the joy and relief ourselves – we also start a party in heaven!
In these challenging times we are in, we all know someone who has struggled spiritually and needs help to be restored. We have a huge opportunity to help people recover what they’ve lost and see them travelling together with us – enjoying their relationship with God and the family and community of Coastal Church again. We could turn a lost situation full of frustration and anguish into an amazing atmosphere of joy and celebration.
I recently came across a wikiHow blog on How To Find Things You Lost. Within these how-to steps are spiritual parallels for us as we help find and restore those whose relationship with God has gone missing.
- Retrace Your Steps
Whenever we’ve lost something, we need to go back to last place we remember having it – even getting into the mindset we had when the item was with is.
For finding and reconciling people, that means remembering the times that person was with us in church or in life group. Remembering great moments when God was ministering to them and moving in their life. It means helping them remember the presence of God and the deep love we all experienced serving Him together.
Let’s walk with those we miss and help them to retrace their steps back to their first love for Jesus.
- Stay Calm and Focused in Your Search
Whenever we stress, panic or get discouraged, we hinder our ability to locate what we are looking for.
The same goes for helping restore someone back to God. We need to avoid worrying about them, and instead pray for them and trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in their hearts.
As a teenager, I had stopped going to church with my uncle and started getting into trouble with the wrong crowd. One of my uncle’s friends saw me on the street one day and relayed back to my uncle how terrible I was doing and how backslidden I was. My uncle said, “That’s okay. He’ll be back! And I will just keep praying for him.”
I am where I am today because I had an uncle who didn’t panic and just kept praying for me when I had lost my way.
- Clean Up the Clutter
Most things get lost in a cluttered environment and most people get lost in a spiritually cluttered environment. Jesus described a heart full of spiritual clutter this way:
“[They] hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.” Mark 5:18b-19 NLT
We live in a world with so many challenges and uncertainties that it’s easy to see how people can get discouraged and how their relationship with God can get lost in the clutter.
In the story of the lost coin, the woman turned the light on and “swept the house” until she found the silver coin. This is why we must continue to pray for people – to sweep back spiritual darkness that is trying to keep them away from God.
- Get Help Looking for the Item
So often, when I lose something at home it’s my wife or someone else in the family who has helped me find it.
When Jesus says go after the lost sheep, he doesn’t mean just a pastor or a life group leader. He’s talking about all of His church helping in the search together and going after those closest to them who have wandered away.
James writes this to all believers:
“My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.” James 5:19-20 MSG
Do you know people who have wandered off? According to James, you become the most qualified to reach out to them.
Let’s continue to look out for each other, reach out to those who we miss and encourage everyone to continue travelling together with us.
If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life or you feel you’ve wandered away in your relationship with God, we would like to give you the opportunity to restore that relationship with Him today. We invite you to pray this prayer out loud:
“Dear God, I thank you that you love me and have a plan for my life. Forgive me for wandering away from you. I believe Jesus died on a cross and rose again for me. I put my trust in Jesus Christ to come into life and make me a new person. Amen”
If you prayed this prayer, we would love to support you in this new life of faith. Click HERE for next steps.