It’s so horrible feeling lost. Many years ago, my husband was setting out to walk the South Downs Way from Eastbourne to Winchester. I decided to walk with him just a little way, and then return home. When we parted, he went on, very excited about his adventure, and I turned round to head home. But it all looked so different when I turned back. I clearly hadn’t been really paying attention as we had climbed up. I started out and assumed the path would become clear, but somehow it didn’t, and I got more and more confused and then a bit panicky. I felt thirsty, alone, and a bit afraid. I was lost!
Being physically lost is traumatic, but being spiritually lost is catastrophic. The prophets brought many very significant prophetic words to Israel, and by extension to us believers. They often explain God’s solution for those who feel lost and frightened, and are far from safety in His warm embrace.
In this scripture God says through Isaiah, ‘Look with your spiritual eyes, a solution is coming, if you keep your eyes and mind open to recognise it. You may feel confused and lost, but the way forward will be clear, even though it will look a bit different. It’s a path starting from where you are now. Follow it. I have the map and I will show you the safe way to get home. It will be clear, even though just now you feel confused and lacking any clear understanding’. God says, ‘Not only will I give you the path, but I will provide all the refreshment you need for the journey’.
Today we may not consider ourselves ‘lost’ physically, or even spiritually, but the well-known words of this prophecy can still give us much needed encouragement. In this confused and confusing world, it’s easy to wonder where we are heading personally, in the Church, or nationally. The world around us often seems like a wilderness devoid of clarity about what is truth and what are lies, who is righteous and who is sinning, what is good and what is evil. But God promises us a path in the wilderness. He also promises us water in the desert, refreshment when we feel spiritually dry; water that gives life and causes what He has seeded in us to blossom and flourish, despite what is obvious all around us.
Just to finish my story, I did make it home, although definitely not by the easiest or best route. I realised how silly I had been not to take more notice of the path and not to have checked with the one who really knew the way, in this case, the one with the map. I think there is a practical and a spiritual lesson for me in all that, and perhaps for you too.
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