…but our sufficiency is of God… 2 Corinthians 3.5

Daddy, are we lost?

    Kitty lost childAlmost seven years ago now, my son and his wife and two small children went north to “Philly” to help plant a church. Church planting has been in my son’s heart for over 15 years, maybe longer.  He felt  a strong call to step out in faith and go north so they sold their small but lovely home. Packed up all their belongings plus their two children, Madison who was four years old at the time, and Kaleb who was two.  A big and long truck was rented, all was packed and after much prayer and some tears, turned out on the open highway heading toward the destination. 
    A dear friend and fellow missionary, Dr. Dean Simpson, said years ago that there is a great difference “in the romance of missions and the reality of missions”.  Chris, his wife, Kate, and all those who cared, were about to get a lesson in 101 church planting.  And the lesson didn’t come easily or inexpensively in finances or human outlay.  As we emailed and talked on the phone, I could tell that there was a real struggle going on in every way regarding the move to Philly.  Being a mother and having the gift of mercy, a blessing and sometimes not so much, I set out  early one Sunday morning in an 18-wheeler with my brother-in-law, at the time a truck driver for a major furniture manufacturer in Lenoir.  The ride was cheap, I only bought his lunch that Sunday but the cost of the effort of church planting for all involved was costly.  Even for a four and two year old.  It still amazes me how, when we are looking, we can “spy God” in every and all circumstances either as the instigator or the overseer of the work. 
    Upon arriving at a truck stop late on Sunday night, hugs and kisses were exchanged all around. “Uncle Johnny” let the grand kids climb up into his big truck.  They were giggling and playing in this mobile “house”.  I was almost kissing the truck stop ground that my son and daughter-in-law and I were together.  It was a joyful time, especially for Chris & Kate I found out later.  There is no easy mission field whether one is in Africa, Asia, South America or Philly.  It all consists of distance, walking by faith and not by sight, and trusting beyond one’s own personal limits. It involves walking out what has been worked in over the years by diligent study of God’s word and the inner working of His Holy Spirit. 
    One day as we were driving  to yet another unknown location, I sat in the back seat between the grand kids.  One couldn’t help but notice that we’d passed the same turn-offs and road signs more than a couple of times.  We seemed to be paying the same toll to ride a very broken road over and over.  Then out of the mouth of our four-year old Madison came,  “Daddy, are we lost?”  Her daddy, my son, responded, “No honey, we aren’t lost.  We’re fine.”  For over seven years those words “out of the mouth of a baby” have returned time after time to my mind as I’ve looked at our situation and others’ situations.  “Daddy, are we lost?” 
    It seems that the destination is the golden prize that we Christians, we children of the KING, are always reaching for.  It’s never the trip to get there.  What had started out as an honorable effort to be obedient had turned into toll roads that were costly and constantly reoccurring. An old apartment complex which felt more like an old people’s home (forgive me old people). High rent but low social networking for a young couple with babies for children.  Walking into a grocery store was almost like walking into a ghetto or a place where there were invisible signs stated “no strangers welcome here”.  Riding through neighborhoods in the daylight because even in the light, they were scary.  This great missionary work kept hitting potholes all along the way and a little girl who was quite perceptive asked the question that many of God’s people ask every day as they ride their own roads in life, “Daddy, are we lost?”
    Have we really heard the God of all gods call our names in salvation’s work?  Have we followed His lead or our own way? Do we understand the direction we are traveling is His direction and not our own?  Do the potholes and the tolls, the charges this life expends from us, confirm or deny the leading of Holy Spirit in our lives?  Do we find ourselves “out on the big toll road of life” wondering the same thing a little girl wasn’t afraid to ask out loud, “Daddy, are we lost?”  Have we come the wrong way.? Did we miss the leading of Holy Spirit? Have we sinned so badly that we now find ourselves “outside the camp” of God’s work?  Did we take a right when a left was plainly written on a billboard large enough for us to see as we ran by it? 
    “Daddy, are we lost?”  Have we so badly mangled this thing called the Christian life that there is no hope for repair or resolve or reconciliation?  As I pondered Madison’s words on that sorry way Pennsylvania called a road, I saw Kate pull a map out of the glove compartment. She found our location and with a pointing finger and a nod of the head, Chris found the right road, which we had actually passed more than once in our search for the right direction to the location we were seeking.  Then came his gentle and calm response to Madison, “No honey we aren’t lost. We are fine.”   Holy Spirit, Kate, had brought out the map of God’s direction…and, again, agreed with the Father, Chris, that we weren’t lost. We just hadn’t gotten to the right road yet but were on our way there.  Another 15 minutes passed and we found ourselves pulling into the parking lot of the trip’s destination.  Madison’s fear (and her grandma’s) was abated. All was well.
    As I look around seeing the destruction of lives through either the sin of unbelief or self-destruction, or people who have lost the will or desire to follow the LORD God because the potholes and toll roads have been too many for too long (they think) and  give in to their own selfish desires, I can’t help but ask my Daddy, my Abba, “Daddy, are we lost?” 
    Thankfully, I can say, His voice is as loud as it’s ever been. It is as clear as a bell. He doesn’t have to shout to fight His way into the conversation of the 21st century.  But His is a clarion call, a clear word, a secure word, “No, honey….we aren’t lost.  We are fine”.  I remind myself of these words quite often.  They bring peace, calmness in a storm of biblical proportions. Everything we know as true and honest and clean and pure is either being cast aside or ridiculed by a secular world.  The Christian, “the Christ followers” have not lost their way because God’s agent, Holy Spirit, is leading and directing whether we see and understand or not.  That TRUTH brings, or should bring, security to our souls in a very insecure world.
    “Daddy, are we lost?”  The road may be long, costly and have more potholes than ever imagined. The destination may seem further away than when the trip began but the TRUTH is, “No honey…we aren’t lost. We are fine.”  It’s the “WE:” that is the most encouraging.  WE aren’t alone. WE are one with God IN Christ Jesus our LORD and Savior.  He is the Captain of our souls.  “We are fine.”
Leave a comment »