I recently read a news report about the North Shore Rescue organization, from North Vancouver, B.C. They had acquired some Night Vision Goggles, to assist with aerial searches in dark conditions. This was a big deal, since it’s just a local volunteer organization, and Night Vision Goggles are more commonly associated with the military or with police forces. Anyway, five minutes into their first training flight in a helicopter, with these fancy new Night Vision Goggles, the crew spotted a pair of lost snowshoers near Mount Seymour. They directed a ground team to their location, who led the lost snowshoers to safety. In fact, the crew on the helicopter spotted the pair before they were even reported missing, which was a first for North Shore Rescue.
Now, the imagery of being lost and found shows up quite a lot in the Bible. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus teaches that God is like a man who owns a hundred sheep, and if one of them goes missing, he will leave the other ninety-nine to go and find the one who is lost. The lesson being that, if we are lost, God will not be content to leave us there. He won’t “play the percentages,” so to speak, and just hang on to the people He still has. He wants to rescue everyone. He wants all who are lost to be found.
Perhaps if Jesus were trying to teach the same principle in our time, He would choose to employ the image of a rescue team in a helicopter, with Night Vision Goggles, rather than a shepherd and sheep. But that’s just conjecture on my part. However, what I know for sure is that God’s desire, to seek and find the lost, has not changed. This is the foundation of Christianity. Everything that God did through Jesus, and everything He is still doing through the Holy Spirit, is done to rescue those who are lost.
Of course, this imagery of being lost and found might not resonate as much in our current situation as it would under normal circumstances. After all, many of us have been confined to our homes for a good chunk of the past year. So, the idea of being far away from our homes, and from everything we’re familiar with, might actually seem rather enticing to us right now. Indeed, some of us might prefer that kind of crisis to the repetitive sameness of our recent experience.
But being lost doesn’t have to mean being in unfamiliar surroundings. Sometimes it just means feeling unsure of what to do, and unsure about whether we’re even going to get through some difficult situation. And given the stresses of the past year, I would assume that a lot of people are feeling lost right now. Thankfully, God is already there, moving in to rescue us. So the next time you find yourself in what seems like a hopeless situation, look up. Your rescuer might be closer than you think.
Tim Challen is Pastor of Virden Baptist Church