“Son, why have you dealt with us thus? Your father and I have sought you sorrowing.”
Recently, my church group went on a day-trip to Lake Welch, one of the small beaches in the New York’s Hudson Valley. We spent the day --as one spends all festive days-- eating, singing, playing soccer, and wading in the lake.
Towards afternoon, two of the children came up missing. We had supposed they were with the rest of the company. But they apparently were not. They simply could not be found. Were they drowned or had some stranger on the crowded beach stolen them away? The older child was a young girl, quite beautiful, of about twelve. The other was a young boy of five who was mentally disabled. Soon all the brothers in the church were looking for them. I need not tell the parents among us how anxious and nervous I became. I walked on the edges of the lake shore fearing I would find a dead little child. I imagined his grief-stricken mother, sorrowing late into the night as police and lifeguards scoured the beach.
As I grew more and more anxious, the verse above began to stroll through my brain. It is a verse I’ve always known. And always when reading it I had agreed quite smugly, “Of course his parents should have known that Jesus was about His father’s business.” But now as I considered the pain Mary and Joseph endured I began to look at the verse in a different way. I found myself growing quite angry with Jesus in fact. How dare He go off and not tell his relatives –no one in the company– what he was up to? I told myself I had never been so angry with Jesus. What a self-willed, arrogant, little know-it-all he was? I soon realized that although I had never gotten this angry at the child Jesus before, I have had moments of fear and sorrow because Jesus had seemingly gone off.
Of course the children were found. The older girl got a good talking-to from her father. And the younger one was also found. His disappearance was due to a bag of Doritos which he had found. Liking it so much, he had gone to a far side of the lake to enjoy it alone. So the children were found. And Jesus was found. Jesus will also be found. In fact, He is not lost at all. He is not missing in action. He has not left us alone to go sorrowing. And He has not left us comfortless. He is about His father’s business: mediating for, blessing, and perfecting sons and daughters for the Heavenly Father who is always working and who sees all.
Moral: How difficult it is to trust a God whose helpful ways are often so incomprehensible!
Prayer: Lord, be always merciful to me. Remember I am dust and flesh. When I am in great distress, my carnal side takes over. So if it’s possible, keep no great secrets from me. Tell me what you’re doing. And if I cannot hear Your Voice, tell others in my Christian family where you are and what you’re doing. Don’t let me ever feel as if you have gone far from me. I need you every hour. Amen.
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