Its hard to believe we are almost at the end of February and Spring is really pushing its way through the earth with daffodils and snowdrops blooming in abundance. Evenings are getting lighter and there is that sense of anticipation, waiting for longer, warmer days, change and the joy of getting out more.
For so many these last few months have been full of misery and heartbreak. Floods have destroyed homes, lives and livelihoods, reminding us that the raw power of the natural world is deadlier than we think it is. There have been personal tragedies and little children have been killed by pets and parents, hard to believe but sadly very true. In Europe, South America and Syria there is violence and oppression on an unprecedented scale against innocent civilians caught up in man’s inhumanity to man.
I know this is a catalogue of strife and sadness but it is happening around us and we cannot remain oblivious to the suffering of others. In the middle of all this turmoil it is very easy to feel lost and anxious. People have their own personal problems and griefs to bear, family crises and tragedies that can make us feel as if we’ve been pulled up by the roots and abandoned in unfamiliar surroundings.
I confess to feelings lost over recent weeks, lost emotionally and spiritually, disconnected from myself and too anxious about every day things for comfort. That’s partly why I haven’t written anything for so long, I was trying to get my bearings, find my way through the fog I felt I was in, reaching out for known fixed points that could help me feel safe and secure.
I’ve carried on functioning, trying to get on with life and work and finding comfort in the familiar routines and people. Being lost is scary, you don’t know what you don’t know and memory and time play tricks on you. In the midst of the anxiety about how I was feeling I’ve reached out for help, I knew I couldn’t go on without it.
As many of you know I experienced a major bereavement last autumn and I know I am still navigating that journey so some of the lost-ness is tied up with that. I am having help with that and I am gradually beginning to feel a little stronger though tears are easily triggered by unsummoned memories.
As a child one of my favourite Bible stories was that of the Lost Sheep. I have a strong memory of the little book with colourful pictures that helped to tell the story of the little sheep that had lost its way and was lonely and frightened. The story was hugely comforting even then, that it didn’t matter how lost I got someone would always know where I was and come and find me. Just as the Shepherd always knew where that sheep was so Jesus would always know where I was even when I didn’t know myself.
Today that hasn’t changed. The unfamiliar place I was in was known by the Shepherd, He knew my fear and anxiety, He knew how and where to find me and how to help me back to safety and security. I think I am still on that journey home but I know I am going home, I can recognise some of the landmarks along the way. I’ve been given some guides to help me and my fear is fading.
I think many of us feel that lost at times and perhaps too frightened to say so, or to ask for help to be found. For me the great reassurance was that even though I was feeling that way someone knew all about it and was coming to find me. If you are feeling lost, disconnected, worried, fearful then take comfort in the fact that someone does know where you are. He can come and find you, you just need to ask for His help and He will be there, He will put the right people around you and lead you safely home.
I am so very thankful for all those people who’ve supported me during recent times, who care enough to pray or send messages. I only hope I can be there for others when they too feel lost and alone. I am thankful for the changing season and that nothing stays the same for ever, all things come…to pass, it just doesn’t always feel like it when you’re in the middle of the fog. No storm too wild or fog too thick for the Light of the World, He is always out there looking for the lost and frightened sheep. Hear Him as He calls you by name.
I love these words from an old hymn
I was lost, but Jesus found me,
Found the sheep that went astray,
Threw His loving arms around me,
Drew me back into His way.
I was bruised, but Jesus healed me,
Faint was I from many a fall,
Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,
But He freed me from them all.
Days of darkness still come o’er me,
Sorrow’s path I often tread,
But His presence still is with me;
By His guiding hand I’m led.