At some time or another, we have all been temporarily lost—turned around, going the wrong way, on the wrong road, or at the wrong address. Perhaps we received bad directions, saw a misleading road sign or missed a turn, or encountered unforeseen obstacles in our path. How do we get to where we are trying to go?
Losing our way may be only a minor, temporary irritation, with the only real consequence being the loss of time spent backtracking or driving farther, which may make us late. Once we make the necessary corrections, we are not lost anymore.
However, becoming lost can sometimes be a frightening, dangerous or even life-threatening experience. We have all seen news reports of hikers who were lost in the wilderness and faced the prospect of imminent death. Or we may have seen similar situations up close. We may hear of someone being lost in a city, going missing in a place where, among so many people, it can actually be quite easy to disappear. How tragic it is when a person loses their way, no matter what the circumstances.
One day I was in the grocery store, and when I turned a corner I saw a little boy of about five years of age. He was standing all alone, looking anxiously down the aisle with tears in his eyes. I asked if he was looking for his mother or father. He said he could not find his father. I told the boy to stay right there, and that I would find his father for him. About a minute later, I saw a man walking quickly from aisle to aisle, stopping briefly to check each aisle as he walked past. I asked if he was looking for a little boy. He said he was, and I led him to his lost son. You should have seen the look of joy and relief on the little boy’s face when he saw his father.
That little boy had simply become distracted for a moment, stopping to look at something, while his father walked on. What about us, and our spiritual lives? If you were once walking with your Father, have you at some point become distracted and strayed away, losing touch with Him? We can easily become distracted by the cares of this life, and lose our way. We can become disoriented and go the wrong way. Later we may regain our focus, only to realize that we have become lost, or are on the wrong path. We may then ask ourselves, “Where am I? How did I end up here?”
When this happens to us, what can we do? The Bible tells us the path leading to life is “narrow,” while the path leading to destruction is “broad.” “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13–14). How do we find the right path? Through His word, God shows us the right path. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). To stay on the right path, we must “walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 John 1:6).
Many years ago, I was with a tour group visiting a cave. Walking on a narrow path, lit by lights every ten feet or so, we had to proceed single-file. Near the end of our tour, as we were ready to head back up the path, the lights suddenly went out. It was pitch black. This created an uneasy feeling, which grew minute by minute as the lights did not come back on. Finding our way back in the dark would have been extremely challenging. Thankfully, the lights did come back on and we made it back safely.
God’s word is a light to our path, given so that we will not fall (John 11:9–11). Read our articles, “Are You Walking in the Footsteps of Christ?” and "The Bright Line" to learn more about the true Christian life. Also be sure to watch "Descending Into Chaos" to learn how to you can find the right path—and help others do the same.