Prior to attending the conference I was struggling with my dedication to God. I was spiritually struggling not with the existence of God, but with the location of God. Where was God exactly? I was praying and crying out to him but I felt like he was nowhere in sight. Essentially I felt lost. Have you ever gone to the grocery store with your parent and got lost, although you thought you knew their location, however you still couldn't find them? That's how I felt! I was in a familiar store with my father (God) and I thought I kept my eyes fixed on him but before I knew it, God was gone! So in panic I went back to the place where I had last seen him, but after searching he still wasn't there. Consequently, because I was the epitome of hopeless, I started to acquire about his location from other people. But when I did this no one knew exactly where he was and I was still left there stuck just as I had been...all alone. This is EXACTLY how I've been feeling for the past 2 months or so. That panic was real, that loneliness was destructive, that peace was distant.
Webster's dictionary defines "lost" as (adj.) unable to find one's way; not knowing one's whereabouts; denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered. I was unable to find my way, I did not know God's whereabouts, my circumstances indicated that God had been taken away from me and he could not be recovered. I was stranded in my lack of faith, in my uncertainty, in my worry, and in my weakness. Have you ever seen a lost person? They are easy to identify because they are so uncomfortable due to the fact that they do not recognize anything familiar to them. And because that person is lost, their situation leaves them vulnerable and exposed to anything. They jump at the first site of help and because they are desperate they rarely look at intentions. Consequently, that same lost person takes direction on how to find his/her way from anyone willing to provide direction. And in cases where that same lost person does become hesitant of the intentions of others who provide directions, they often will seek their own personal advice which causes them to either travel in circles or go further away from a help site because they do not know where they are going. I was all of these of these things! After this weekend I have gained a fresh perspective and realized that I was never lost because God was where I had left him...in the back of my heart and in the back of my mind.
Dear Lost Me, .... Why Do I Feel So Lost?
Loneliness is a feeling so it's determinative on the ways in which we perceive our situations. Some of the richest people with some of the nicest things that money can buy can feel lonely. Additionally, some of the most blessed individuals that we know, can in all actuality be some of the most lost individuals. I know because I once felt lost. Now, what I'm learning is that you're not always lost when you don't know where you're going, because you can simply be lost because you don't know whether to make a right or left. For example, you can know how to get to Main Street from where you are, but maybe you do not know how to get to Park Avenue? Do you make that left or that right?
O Lord why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble. Psalms 10:1.
I was lost because just like in the grocery store, I took my eyes off God. I too busy being entertained by the countless distractions that I got so caught up in what didn't matter that the things that did matter fell by the wayside. When I finally did look up to see God, he was nowhere in sight. It was as if he left me stranded. During these past 2 months what I couldn't understand was that if God loved me the way he said he did, then why would he leave me? Why would he not comfort me? Why would he walk away while I was looking for him? I think the problem with me was that I was so focused on what I thought God was doing towards me that I never once acknowledged what I was doing to God. Yes, God is a merciful God and yes, God loves us but when God blesses us it is his choice to do so. So, when God allows us to go through trials and tribulations it is because God chooses to test our character and it is up to us to decide whether we'll trust him or trust the abilities of ourselves. When I was dealing with my feelings of loneliness, when I was feeling lost, and when I felt like I was stuck at the fork in the road where I didn't know whether to turn left or right, I chose not to trust God and that was a decision that I made. However, when I finally did turn to what was familiar to me and cry out to God I was reminded of God's promises that he once gave me. The Bible states, Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, "I have been a foreigner in a foreign land." Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to grow under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. Exodus 2:21-24. As soon as we cry out to God sincerely, God realizes that it is time to act on our behalf and he does!
Dear Lost Me, .... God Never Left You .... God Was Where You Left Him
The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the people of Israel and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron. Psalm 115:12. What I had to realize through my struggles of navigating God's location in my life, was that God was exactly where I had left him. When things were going great I was quick to thank God for his blessings, but when things seemed uncertain I questioned whether God really loved and was there for me. He never left me, he was just waiting on me to sincerely need him and to believe in him. I remember when I was a little girl I got lost in Walmart. Prior to even walking into the store my mother told me to either get in the cart or stay near the cart. If I wasn't going to get in the cart that meant that I had to stay close to the cart and could not stray. Well just like I had done most times before, I decided to stray away from the cart (what I was told) and took a different direction.
As soon as I went too far away from where I was supposed to be, it was too late because I was already lost and could not find my mother. Everything happened so fast! I was panicking and calling her name but she didn't answer me and so I cried. I cried and I remember that I got into a rack of clothes because although I did defy her orders about staying close to the cart, I feared that I would get taken just like all of the other kids plastered on the Walmart entrance doors. As I cried and prayed quietly to myself, I looked up and my mother was there! It was as if she was watching me the entire time. She watched me walk away, she watched me panic, she watched me cry, she heard me cry out her name, she saw me hide because I was ashamed, and just when I felt hopeless and searched for some guidance she was there! God acts in the same way! In my state of feeling lost, he watched me stray in my beliefs/faith, he watched me become overwhelmed in my sorrows, he heard me cry out to him when I felt hopeless, and just when I was about to give up I looked up and he was there! Just as my mom did, God never left he had to watch me suffer the consequences of my lack of my obedience to him. Why didn't I just listen? Why didn't I just keep my eyes on God? Why didn't I just trust God? Why didn't I just remember that God is always there? God never once left me even when I left him! He never once conditioned his love for me even when I conditioned my faith on my circumstances. The Bible states, I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you and I will save you. Isaiah 46:4. Circumstances doesn't change God's faithfulness to us.
Dear Lost Me, .... Let God's Will Be Done In Your Life
When we go through those seasons of loneliness and those seasons where God seems distant we need to realize what things we're entertaining. If you truly believe in God then you truly believe in his power over your life. You don't question things that seem dim. You believe that he will meet all of your needs just as he always has. And once you recognize this, you also recognize what truly matters. Things that interfere with your faith should be deleted because they only serve as distractions. As a kid in the store I saw distractions of candy and toys that would lure me away from the safety of the cart to a world that exposed me to so much danger, both seen and unseen. And even when I did disobey God he still protected me and allowed me to remain unharmed. Those toys that I searched for in the store were nothing compared to the peace that I found in my mother's arms after being found. As Christians when we doubt God we need to take accountability for our faith and examine what we're entertaining in our lives. We shouldn't search for God through other people. No, we have to set the foundation for our our own personal relationship with Christ. Although I want so many great things to happen in my life, I am truly at peace with missing out on anything that is not in the will of God. If it doesn't have God at the center then I don't want it! I am no longer lost in my situations, no longer lost in my selfishness, no longer lost in my desires, no longer lost in my doubt. Dear lost me, I am found because God never left....But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless--like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile. Ecclesiastes 2:11.
But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. (Psalms 18:6).
Stay Blessed and Let God Find You: Jamera