Tag Archives: Lost

The Great Memorial Panic

On this Memorial Weekend I once again have memories of one particular Memorial Day. I played the Bass Drum in our Junior High School band. The highlight of the year was marching in Kalamazoo’s Memorial Day parade.

On this particular Memorial Day I had a problem. While marching, the strap that held the drum on my shoulders was slowly slipping loose; if not corrected, the drum would fall. Complicating the problem was that, unlike all the other instruments, the percussion section never stops playing; it has to provide the cadence to keep everyone in step. So I had no opportunity to stop and try to fix the strap. And since I was standing on the edge of the row I had no one on my right side and a snare drummer on my left. So there was no help beside me.

At first I chuckled thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” But the humor didn’t last long. I kept drumming but also kept trying to adjust the strap in between beats, which was no small task. It was proving to be a losing battle. I began to have visions of the drum falling, with me tripping over it as it fell, and the whole band falling apart because the cadence stopped and everyone lost the beat and thus their synchronized steps. I had to struggle to maintain the beat while becoming lost in my thoughts. I had no idea what to do. I was close to panic.

But there was one glimmer of hope. Our director always marched with the band, and would do so from various positions – sometimes moving to the edge of each row so he could check up on everyone.; but I had no way of getting his attention. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, he came to the edge of my row, on my side of the row! There he was – right next to me! He was able to fix the strap without me missing a beat. I was so glad he let himself be found!

As I now fondly recall that day, my mind goes to Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” I once read that “…an ever-present help in trouble” could be translated “God lets himself be found in trouble.” I like that thought. “When you’re lost, He is found.” I think of when I play ‘Hide and Seek ‘ with my grandchildren – I often hide only partially so I can be found. Or I’ll be fully hidden for a short time until I sense they’re getting frustrated, and then come partially out of hiding. I’ll let myself be found.

That’s so much like God. When we’re lost, when we’re about to lose our step, when the drumbeat of our life is about to get out of sync, when the straps that hold the source of our life in place are about to come undone – God lets Himself be found. “When you’re lost, He is found.” When tragedy strikes, when life becomes overwhelmingly challenging, and we wonder where God is – when we wonder where He’s hiding, God lets Himself be found. “When you’re lost, He is found.” When we’ve totally lost our way, or suddenly realize we’ve wandered off to other pastures and wonder how we’ll ever find our way back, then it is we need to remember “When you’re lost, He is found.” God lets Himself be found.

The truth is, God is never far away. He may, at times, remain out of our sight because He wants to develop our faith and increase our trust. But before the drum falls, before we trip and fall, before everyone and everything around us falls apart, God will come out of hiding. “When you’re lost, He is found.” God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…The Lord Almighty is with us.”

“When you’re lost, He is found.”

Sailing Through Life – Part 7 – Reflections on Feeling Lost

As we sailed throughout our journey, we were surprised how often we felt at least slightly lost. We had wandered and taken some wrong turns or simply lost track of where were because we were too busy enjoying the scenery and activities. “Where’s our room?” “Which deck is that on?” “Which deck are we on?” “Can we get to the other end of the ship on this deck?” We spent time laughing at ourselves. But we never worried – we knew we weren’t really lost. We were just disoriented.

The important thing was we knew we really couldn’t get lost. There was always lots of help. There were signs and maps posted along the way.

There were also plenty of people to help and staff to assist. As long as we were on board, we could never be truly lost.

It just like the life of those who are baptized. We’re on board with Jesus. We sometimes feel lost; we wander too far, take some wrong turns. We lose track of where we are and where we need to be because  we’re too busy enjoying the scenery and activities of life. Yet we’re never really lost – we just get disoriented. Think about baptism.

At the moment of baptism God makes some very special promises.

“Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s promises to this covenant people. In baptism God promises by grace alone: to forgive our sins; to adopt us into the Body of Christ, the Church; to send the Holy Spirit daily to renew and cleanse us; and to resurrect us to eternal life.” This promise is made visible in the water of baptism. Water cleanses; purifies; refreshes; sustains: Jesus Christ is living water. (1)

In baptism we are getting on board with Jesus for our journey through life.

“Through baptism Christ calls us to new obedience: to love and trust God completely; to forsake the evil of the world; and to live a new and holy life.” (2)

We may become disoriented through our wandering and sinning, but we are and always will be on board.

“Yet, when we fall into sin, we must not despair of God’s mercy, nor continue in sin,
for baptism is the sign and seal of God’s eternal covenant of grace with us.” (3)

Just like on a cruise ship, God provides plenty of help. There are signs and maps – the Word of God. God sends plenty of people to help – family, friends, fellow Christians, mentors, coaches, teachers, friends. God’s staff is always present and available – Pastors, Sunday School teachers, Youth leaders, Christian authors, angels, His Holy Spirit.





The reality is, baptism assures us that once we’re on board, we’re never really lost; only disoriented for a while. I’m not sure if King David ever sailed on a ship, but he knew the same reality.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
(Ps. 139:2-12)

Once we’re on board, God keeps us on board. Jesus affirmed it when He said, “My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.” (John 10:27-30 The Message)

The reality is, once we’re on board we’re never really lost; only disoriented for a while. Jesus has us – and He will never let go!

(1) Baptismal Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America
(2) Baptismal Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America
(3) Baptismal Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America