Saturday, July 16, 2022

Lost and found in the forest


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

In September 2021, a man in Turkey was drinking with friends, left them, and walked off into a nearby forest, where he spent the night. The next morning, he noticed a group of people, who told him that they were looking for a missing person. Desiring to be helpful, he joined the search. After some time, a member of the search party called out his name, and he responded, “I am here”. Only then did the truth become apparent to all: his family had reported him missing when he failed to return home, volunteers had set out to look for him, and, by joining one of the groups, he was, without knowing it, trying to find himself!

There were two reasons why it took so long for the man to be found: firstly, he did not know that he was lost, and, secondly, the search party did not know the one for whom they were looking, except for his name. The story is amusing, but for me the smile did not last long, for it soon came to my mind that this man is like many in the world today, whom the Bible describes as “lost”. In fact, that is the natural state of all mankind. Like the man in the story, we have wandered away, not from our friends, but from God. Isaiah 53.6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way”. In Luke chapter 15, to illustrate our lost condition, and our need to be found, the Lord Jesus also compares us to a lost sheep, as well as to a lost coin and a lost son.

Doubtless there were dangers for that man in the forest, but they were small compared to the danger that lost sinners face. Indeed, the word translated “lost” in the Bible is frequently translated “perish”, which brings before us the terrible reality that anyone who remains lost in sins will perish, that is, will end up in the Lake of Fire for ever.

Sadly, many are like the man in the story in another way: they are lost, but do not realise that they are lost, and they go on, happily, even trying to help others, and all the while ignorant of their own true status in the sight of God. This man had to learn that he was the one who was lost, and when he did, that was when he was found. If you are reading this message and have never understood that you are a lost sinner, perishing in your sins, and that you need to be saved if you are going to be in Heaven, you need to take in the true situation, and earnestly desire to be found.

At this point the comparison between this story and that of the lost sinner ends, for there is a stark contrast between the two: in this story, the searchers meant well, but they did not know the person for whom they were searching. The very opposite is the case for the Lord Jesus Christ, Who came to earth “to seek and to save that which was lost” Luke 19.10. He knows everything about you, including every sin you have ever committed, yet He loves you so much that He went to the cross, to suffer, bleed and die for you, so that you could be “found”, receiving forgiveness of all your sins, salvation from eternal punishment, everlasting life, and a home in Heaven. He rose from the dead, and He will save you today, if you acknowledge your position as a lost sinner, repent, and trust in Him.

Jesus, I will trust Thee, trust Thee with my soul,
Guilty, lost and helpless, Thou canst make me whole:
There is none in heaven or on earth like Thee:
Thou hast died for sinners, therefore, Lord, for me.

Used by kind permission of Assembly Testimony Publications

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