Where Is Jesus? Where Am I?
And He said to them, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?
— Luke 2:49
Jesus is lost! But is He? Have you ever lost one of your children? I am the mother of four boys and I have had this experience numerous times. One such time was at Disney World (before cell phones), and we had to break up in teams to search. I can say that regardless of the magical backdrop, I was terrified until I found my son.
Jesus was 12 years old when Joseph and Mary caravanned from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Caravans sometimes involved as many as a hundred or more “family” members. Mary didn’t notice Jesus’ absence until the end of the first day’s trip (thank you Mary for giving us Mom’s grace!). They then began the arduous task of returning back to Jerusalem a full day’s journey away, and spent another day scouring the town before they found Jesus sitting among teachers in the Temple courts, asking questions and providing answers. Can you imagine the built-up tension and anxiety in Mary’s heart?
Mary blurts out, “Son, why have you treated us this way?” His response: Why did you seek Me? Those words had to be jolting and at the very least would seem insensitive and difficult to understand. But what we are actually seeing here is a much needed course correction for Mary. Jesus was reconfirming something Mary continually grappled with, and that was there is a heavenly plan at work. He was making it clear that His relationship to His mother was subordinate to His relationship with His Father.
I so often need a course correction. I have the tendency to keep my hands on my circumstances to try and control them to my desired outcome. Then when things go topsy-turvy, I turn and wonder where God is. I can’t find you, Jesus! That is because it was me who was lost, as I created my own plan on how my life should be, and how God fits into it based on my terms.
I will never forget the five years I spent every weekend visiting my son in prison. I looked around this foreign country and couldn’t figure out how I got there. It was in that very place I learned how to put into practice what it meant to be about my Father’s business. There was so much hopelessness in the many people around me—families and inmates alike. Embittered people--cursing, grumbling, and crying out in anger; and so many without a faith base. It was in that dark environment, my eyes began to see—truly see. It was there I remembered a prayer I had piously said for years: Lord may I see with Your eyes, hear with Your ears, and feel with Your heart.
Gradually, through the renewing of my mind, prison became a mission field. I began to see God’s hand every step of the way. He gave me a peace that was unexplainable. And strangely enough, in God’s providential design, I would eventually see this missionary journey as a perfect fit. You see, I was very familiar with the criminal justice system from the legal side of life. I was married to a retired Police Chief and current Undersheriff of our County. Police Chief’s sons don’t get sent to prison. Do they?
So oddly enough, we were more equipped than most to navigate the tangled web of prison bureaucracy. More importantly, we were followers of Jesus. We could provide hope, encouragement, resources, rides, and even financial assistance to individuals. It eventually birthed my non-profit, The Be Still Foundation, which provides books and materials to inmates, as well as hope and encouragement to families in crisis. Throughout my journey, I continually reminded myself I must be about my Father’s business. While I couldn’t understand the why, I could respond to the what.
I began to see God in a new way—a course correction. The prison land plowed deeply into the recesses of my heart making it more fertile to see people’s needs. It was in those long lines at the gates, with armed guards in the tower, and undignified pat downs at the door God stripped away the pride that continually tripped me up.
God would reveal Himself to me in a new way when I felt lost in a foreign land.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
Don’t forget that whatever comes your way, while you may feel lost-- God is never lost. If you are in dreaded fear of your present circumstances because all that was familiar is gone—then trust God is making something new. He is in the business of creating beauty from ashes. If you are thrown into a foreign territory (anything unfamiliar) embrace that God is about to teach you an amazing new language. I never delved deeper into the Word of God than when I had to surrender my child to the unknown and trust God was with Him because he was God’s child long before he was ever mine.
Father I am so afraid. Fear surrounds me, my circumstances overwhelm me. I feel like my life will never be the same. How can I ever recover from this tragedy? Remind me Who You are. May I always remember that it is You, Oh Lord, who truly does make all things new. May I remember “because of the Lord’s loving devotion we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3: 22-23. Open our hearts to hear Your voice. Help us to find You in everything that comes our way. I submit all the broken pieces of my life into Your hands and I trust that You will carry me through and be glorified in the process.
— By Andrea Maher, Guest Writer