Momentarily Lost

A young boy, about four years old, stood with his dad at a cash register.  On the counter to be purchased, was a stack of chocolate chip cookies for the boy.  But it wasn’t the father who paid.  The son was using his own money to buy these cookies.  He was clearly excited, maybe more about getting to be the one to pay than about the cookies themselves.

Once the transaction was over, the boy gripped his bag of cookies and followed his father toward the automatically opening doors.  They hadn’t taken more than ten steps from the cash register, but somehow the dad was distracted and turned just a bit to the side.  Not far.  But the son hadn’t noticed.  He kept going.  Three steps.  He hadn’t even made it to the door, but that was when he became aware that his dad was not by his side.  The store was busy enough and the boy small enough that he could not immediately see his dad only six feet away.

Thinking himself lost, the boy wailed loudly.  Everyone around turned to see.  As quickly as they had been separated the father was back by his son’s side.  But the boy was shaken.  Sure, he had a bag of cookie goodness in one hand, but that meant nothing to him if he didn’t know where his dad was.  The father consoled him, and continued to console him once they left the store.  That boy had been devastated by just a moment of being lost.

The cashier and I exchanged a glance and a smile as the scene unfolded.  I’m sure many of you have witnessed similar scenes or may have even had it happen with one of your children.

As I made my way back to the car, passing the boy still being consoled by his father near the parking lot, I wondered if the dad had been embarrassed at the scene or felt truly blessed to be so important to his son.  That’s when it hit me.  I’m supposed to be like that child.  Jesus said so.  “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3).

When is the last time that I was truly devastated at the thought of being lost, separated from God, even if just for a moment?  When have I made a scene, crying out loud, not caring who was staring at me, because all that mattered to me was to have God by my side again?  When is the last time I was more focused on my relationship with God rather than on whatever blessings I might have in my hands or life, distracting me?  Have I made my dependence and love for God as crystal clear as this boy did for his father?

I buckled up and paused before starting the car.  I felt ashamed and challenged to renew my focus on God.  He deserves to be loved.  He deserves to be clung to.  I must not forget how truly dependent I am on Him.

Jesus sets the example.  When He was on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27:46).  And the world noticed, even if they didn’t fully understand (Mt. 27:47).

I know that God will never leave you or me (Mt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).  We’re the ones who walk away and get ourselves lost.  But the point isn’t about who is to blame, it’s about how focused we are on being by God’s side and how devastated we are when there is even a hint of separation.  

What can you do this week to show God how important He is to you?