Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
The first time I remember getting lost was as a small child in the Chautauqua Mall. I entered the mall with my family but immediately became distracted by the stationary “rides” near the entrance. I hopped on the firetruck, then the airplane, and then the police car. I took imaginary rides until I realized I was alone. My folks were nowhere in sight. I was missing. And I panicked.
Luckily for me the Chautauqua Mall is exactly the sort of place to get lost. After a few minutes of frantic searching I saw my dad and sprinted through the crowd to reach him. I fought through legs, pushed aside bags, and veered through people until I caught him. I threw my arms around one of his legs elated that I was no longer alone. I held on tightly until I heard an unfamiliar voice from above me say, “What are you doing?”
I looked up to see a stranger looking down. He was looking at me like I was a tick. He wasn’t scared of me, but he definitely didn’t want me stuck to his leg. Embarrassment accompanied my panic. Shame joined my fear. I was lost and felt so alone.
At that point I heard my dad call my name. He walked to me. He picked me up. He hugged me. And peace replaced my panic.
I felt peace because I was no longer holding on. I was being held.
There are times in life we find ourselves lost. It’s true for little kids and big kids, for young adults and older ones too. We wander. We get distracted. We forget. We fail. At times like that it can be easy to panic and run through life desperately searching for the right leg to hold onto. So often we cling to the wrong things. We latch on to false gods like money, power, status, politics, relationships, substances, etc. In our panic we create feelings of self-doubt, pity, embarrassment, and despair. It’s no fun being lost and alone.
The beauty of the Christian narrative is that it is not a story of us lost souls running to or holding onto God. Rather, it is the story of our God meeting us. It is the story of God finding us when we are lost.
And so, if you’re feeling lost remember: God calls you by name. God holds you in the palm of his hand. Stop holding on; be held.
In the Way,
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.