We were lost. There’s no other way to spin it. Neither our GPS nor our Mapquest recognized the road we were traveling. Nothing looked familiar, and the daylight was fading. We were in a state we’d never visited before, and most of the inhabitants didn’t think we even spoke the same language.
It started as a fun Saturday afternoon drive into Acadia National Park, hoping to arrive at the top of Cadillac Mountain in time for the sunset reputed to be spectacular. We forgot to factor in our timing. We had arrived on a holiday weekend and the very last Saturday of tourist season. We were NOT alone as we started following the signs. I’ve seen crowds like this on The Strip in Panama City Beach in the summertime with all the young folks, and in Gatlinburg in the fall with all the leaf peepers. We passed several popular stops and saw all of the overflowing parking lots. It wasn’t looking good. So, we decided we’d come back the next day and spend this time doing a little exploring. I thought I’d noticed a lighthouse symbol on the signs pointing to Southwest Harbor, so we thought, “How hard can it be? Let’s see if we can find it.”
We DID stop to ask a man on a bicycle, and he pointed and waved uselessly indicating the fact that we should turn around and head in the opposite direction — once he realized Steve had said “lighthouse” rather than “lion house.” What in the world?? That led us nowhere. We tried consulting our map to no avail, so we decided to try to get back at least into Acadia National Park which would then take us to Bar Harbor and to our inn for the night. Apparently, we made some very wrong turns. We drove in circles. Our perfect vacation was becoming somewhat tense. Can you picture it?
FINALLY, and I do mean FINALLY, we passed a volunteer fire station, and an elderly (meaning older than we are) couple walked out carrying what appeared to be their leftover dishes from a potluck supper. I urged Steve to pull in and see if we could get them to help us. The wife seemed shy and suspicious of us, but the husband walked over to our car and allowed us to explain our dilemma. He saw the map that I had been futilely trying to follow and pointed to a spot on it. He said, “We are RIGHT HERE. If you’ll go down that road (again, he pointed to the exact road), you’ll come to Highway 233. Take that, and you’ll go straight back into Bar Harbor.” HALLELUJAH!!! We thanked him profusely and followed his instructions to the letter. He was 100% right. He knew the territory, and he was willing to share his knowledge with a couple of odd-speaking strangers.
It feels bad to be lost. Out of control. Frustrating. A person who is lost is no good to himself or anyone else until he gets on the right road again . . . or finds the right road for the very first time.
You, I’m sure, know where I’m going with this. There are millions of lost people in the world today. They can’t possibly live, think or act the way God intended until they are found. They’re on the wrong road going in the wrong direction. Out of control. Frustrated. BUT JESUS . . . . don’t you just love sentences that start with those words? But Jesus came for the very purpose of searching out and saving people in that very condition. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 This verse comes at the end of the story of Jesus looking up into the tree and seeing Zacchaeus. Here’s the passage in The Living Bible translation:
Luke 19:1-10 (TLB)
19 1-2 As Jesus was passing through Jericho, a man named Zacchaeus, one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business (and, of course, a very rich man), 3 tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree beside the road, to watch from there.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick! Come down! For I am going to be a guest in your home today!”
6 Zacchaeus hurriedly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.
7 But the crowds were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “Sir, from now on I will give half my wealth to the poor, and if I find I have overcharged anyone on his taxes, I will penalize myself by giving him back four times as much!”
9-10 Jesus told him, “This shows that salvation has come to this home today. This man was one of the lost sons of Abraham, and I, the Messiah,* have come to search for and to save such souls as his.”
So, what is OUR job in this whole scenario? I believe we’re supposed to be like that elderly man in the parking lot who said to us, “This is where you are right now. If you’ll do this, this, and this, you’ll find your way home.” Lost person, if you will ADMIT that you are lost and in need of a Saviour, if you will ask Jesus to forgive your sins and genuinely turn around from the road you were going down and BELIEVE that following Jesus is the right road, then CONFESS in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will find your way home. A B C