September 3, 2008

When You Feel Lost

Posted in Devotionals at 2:20 pm by Sarah Bosse

When You Feel Lost
By Dr. James MacDonald

Category: Problems, Relying on God



Have you ever been really lost?  Like I-don’t-where-I-am-and-I-don’t-know-how-I-got-here lost?  In the fall of 1979, I was leaving my home in Ontario, Canada, and heading off to college in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The car was packed, but I was kind of nervous about the trip; I had never driven that far before.  My dad put his arms around me, prayed, and then said, “This is really simple.  You take the 401 to Detroit.  Cross over the bridge, get on I-75, and head straight to Chattanooga—you can’t miss it.”

Well I got in the car and took off.  All I was thinking was I-75 . . . I-75 . . . I-75.  So I shot across the bridge from Canada to Detroit and jumped on I-75.  About two hours later I started to wonder why I hadn’t seen Toledo yet.  I was going by signs that said I-75, so I thought, “I’m on the right track.”  All of a sudden, I noticed the top of the sign.  It said, “NORTH.”  You know that creeping feeling that comes over you, but you don’t want to believe it?  Then I saw a sign for Bay City, Michigan, and realized that I was two-and-a-half hours north of Detroit, headed for the Upper Peninsula. I was so discouraged.  It is an awful thing to be so completely and utterly lost.

This is an example of confusion.  Confusion results when I am unable to connect my perception with reality.  It can hit us in one of four areas; each one is progressively worse.

  • The first is physical confusion.  This is where you can’t connect what you see with your perceived location, and you’re asking “Where am I?”  That is pretty easily solved.  You just turn the car around, get some directions and then get where you are supposed to be.
  • Worse than physical confusion is what I would call emotional confusion.  Emotional confusion occurs when you can’t connect what you are feeling with what is happening.  You are asking yourself, “Why am I feeling this way? I shouldn’t be, but I am.” Have you ever felt like that? Kind of emotionally disoriented? That is more difficult to solve.
  • But it is not as bad as mental confusion.  Mental confusion occurs when you connect your identity with reality. People who struggle with this may actually have to be hospitalized.  They are asking the question, “Who am I?”
  • But the worst is spiritual confusion.  Spiritual confusion happens when I can’t connect what is happening with my sense of who I know God to be.  I am not asking, “Why do I feel this way?” or “Who am I?”. I’m asking “Who is God?  The God that I know would never let this happen.  The God that I know would never act like this.”  It’s an awful thing, and if you let it go on for a long time, you’re going to be in deep weeds.

How do I meet God in confusion?  Here are four truths that can act like a spiritual compass, to help us meet Him when we feel lost. 

First of all, God always has a plan for me.  He is not surprised about anything.  He has never paced the floor.  He is in complete control, with His feet up.  You can rest in the knowledge that God has a plan for you.

Second, God’s timing is always perfect in my life.  He has never been late; He has never been early; He is always right on time.  Now we don’t see God’s perfect timing when we are in the midst of it, because our sense of timing is right now.  But do you have a story that shows how God’s timing is perfect?  If so, rehearse it and let it encourage you in the situation you are facing today.

Third:  I have nothing to fear.  Since God has a plan and His timing is always perfect, I have nothing to fear. Now that doesn’t mean that I automatically avoid all the painful stuff in this life.  It just means that when it is all over, I’ll say, “Good job, Lord. Great plan.”  There is not one person in heaven saying, “Bad plan.”  Every one in heaven is going, “Great plan, God! Even the tragic events turned out for Your glory.”  Let that thought nourish your heart.

Fourth, I’ve got a lot to learn.  Too often I am not good at trusting God.  I want to handle it myself.  I want to push ahead.  I think I know better.  We must humble ourselves in the midst of painful circumstances, realizing that they are tools that God can use to accomplish His good in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

So if you feel like you are lost, it is not to late to turn the car around.  Just follow God’s directions, and you will find Him. 

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