Lost

Lost – it is such a painful word.  The implication of lost and lostness is a huge theological premise for salvation itself.  For those of us who call ourselves evangelicals, lost is a condition we readily recognize as a state of those without Christ.  The enterprise of evangelism is rooted in an acceptance of that lost state of the human condition.  There are certainly implications for complete societies as well as for individuals.  We have all heard evangelistic messages preached that declare the need for a sense of lostness before there can be redemption.  The seed of truth rooted in this idea is at the heart of the Gospel message and calls students of Word and faith to wrestle with its applications.  My purpose in this article is not to attempt to address this foundational discussion.  I want us to consider the revisiting of lostness as members of the faith.

 

Last Friday we received a tearful phone call from  our daughter.  Her father-in-law passed away unexpectantly.  Our subsequent conversations covered the unrelenting demands of taking care of details as well as exploring how we  could lend a hand – taking care of animals, houses, contacting employers, covering other responsibilities, etc.

Following the initial shock of the news of this death, the sense of loss begins to set in.  I am certain that all of you who have lost a loved one know something of the struggle that takes place during such a time.  The struggle is between the mundane details that must be tended to and the overwhelming sense of emotion that screams at your mind and heart.  Somewhere in the midst of that is a sense of lostness.  I hasten to say that for the believer there is likewise a powerful sense of comfort that rises up right alongside the lostness.  The one condition (lostness) is rooted in our human condition, in which we can do nothing to effect change in the stark reality of what has taken place.   The accompanying reality for the believer is rooted in the Word of God where we find promises of resurrection power, peace and comfort in our suffering, and even eternal life, all of which is rooted in Christ.  In our wounded, weak state, hurting from our loss, He is faithful.

“It is the Lord who rises with healing in His wings.”

I am mindful today of Psalm 22.  Sometimes referenced as the “psalm of the cross,” it begins with an aching cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  David’s cry expressed through the psalmist became Jesus’ cry from the cross.  That sense of desertion is not foreign to our Lord.  He knew its bitterness.  I recall a sermon that Calvin Miller preached on this psalm referencing how it expressed the cry of separation that is universal.  Haunting and crippling, the cry of separation is like unto no other.

While exposition of Psalm 22 calls us to the verses that pivot from lost separation to expressions of faith (vs. 19) and continue to move toward declarations of certain victory and a passing of the torch to a “people yet unborn.”  The final reminder is that the truth passed is that “HE has done it!”

Today there are things in our family that have been lost that we mourn:

Plans we had envisioned for days ahead with this loved one are lost

Aspects of innocence for our grandson are lost

For a period of time laughter and joyful spirits seem lost

Presumptions we had regarding how family things would play out are lost

We could go on, but such would be unnecessary.  Gospel applies here.  I do not refer to a “pie in the sky” kind of ignoring of heartache and hurt.  To the contrary, I believe Gospel helps us embrace such hurt and fear.  I am even now anticipating the emotional hugs to come later today as we are physically reunited with our daughter, son-in-law, the widow, and our grandson.

The Good News applies to believers!  Christ is Victor!

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O grave, is your sting?

(1 Cor 15:54-55)

These are certainly not empty words.

In this season of Lent, as we examine our lives, we may encounter aspects that seem lost.  Not lost as in an eternal damnation, of course, but lost in the sense of not the way we wanted it to be, or planned life to be.  Lost in the sense of separation.  The good news is that the stark reality of our condition in the fallen world gives way to death to self and sin, resurrection with and in Christ.  He has gone to prepare a place for us where we will be with Him.

Ultimately, Christ’s victory overcomes any and all lostness. O what triumph is ours to declare!

Worship Leaders, we lead people to proclaim Gospel and make it application not only to those who are lost and do not yet believe, but to believers as well.  Let us help them love to tell the story!

For those who know it best

Seem hungering and thirsting

To hear it like the rest.

Katherine Hankey

 

In Christ,

Paul

 

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