Middleham and St. Peter's Parish



Posted by Joan Shisler on

Lost and Found in Lent

             Have you ever been lost?  There are lots of ways to be lost.  Being lost is different from loss. Experiencing loss is the emotional suffering you feel when someone or something is taken away. Grieving and coping with that can be challenging and time should be taken to go through the process of healing.  But have you even been lost?  Being lost means being unable to find one’s way or ascertain one’s whereabouts.  It also means to be confused, bewildered or helpless.  So, have you ever been lost?

            Have you ever played hide and seek as a kid or even as an adult?  It’s a relatively simple game; several people hide and one person looks for them. 

You are lost until you are found.  What about traveling in a car with directions to a place you have never been before when you make a wrong turn or miss an exit off the highway and you just can’t seem to find your destination. You are lost until you have found your destination.   Have you ever been hiking on a trail and get turned around somehow even though the path is supposed to be taking you to a specific place?  You are lost until you find where you are going.  Being lost can be terrifying, stressful, and have you feeling out of control.  We have all been lost in one way or another at some point in our lives. 

            A reason to talk about being lost and found in lent is because we are led directly to this theme in the lectionary, especially in the fifteenth chapter of Luke’s gospel.  There are three parables illustrating this that touch on this subject though only one is actually included in the Lenten lectionary – The Prodigal (Lost) Son.  The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin are stories that come before lent but they prepare us for what’s coming.   These stories help us recognize that being lost is not necessarily a bad thing in the long run and they help us pay attention to the ultimate outcome; we may be lost for whatever reason but also, what happens when, and by whom, we are found.    The recognition that we are lost and the promise that God will find us is precisely what we need as we prepare for and dive into the Lenten season. 

            So, if you are happy and you know it good for you.  When everything is fine in life we don’t tend to look for better.  But, if you are feeling lost and vulnerable, with that aching moment when you feel like you have no idea what you are doing or how you got into your current situation, what then?  How do you get back on track?  What is the track?  What needs to be done to become found?  If you are feeling lost there is a reason for it. Realizing that you are off kilter, floundering, or “lost” is the first step.  Feeling lost forces you to look for what will change your situation.  We don’t like change, it’s hard and uncomfortable, but change is the only way we can move from being lost to being found.  What are your needs and wants?  What will help you find your way and help you grow?  What do you need to do to be found? 

            Since one of the three tasks of lent is to pray, start with that.  Seek God’s will in all you do and He will show you the path to take.   But really, when you are faced with several paths, including the one you’re on that may not be good for you, which one do you take?  Trust that you will somehow be able to discover what you truly need and God will nudge you in the right direction.  Being lost is part of a process for finding what is important to you.  Feeling lost is often a sign that a shift is in order and praying can give you the momentum to change what you need to change to find yourself. 

            Ultimately, we all want to be found.   Whether it’s the Prodigal Son coming home, or looking for the one lost sheep, or each of us being able to change and grow, all with God’s help, we just want to feel the rewarding satisfaction of self-discovery that leads us to the right path that will enable us to have a fulfilling and balanced life.  When you are lost and then find what you are looking for, especially if it’s not even what you thought you were going to find, it can be the most rewarding form of deep discovery.  Feeling lost is actually a sign that you need to make a change.  You need to wiggle through that uncomfortableness of being lost and search for the reason behind the feeling. The moment things change is when growing begins and being found is in sight.  Sometimes you need to get lost to appreciate being found.  We are all worth being found.  So, during this Lenten season embrace being lost.   Take stock of yourself and your life. Take the time to pray and with God’s help the way to being found will reveal itself. 


Joan Shisler

Senior Warden



“We become lost, 
Take a deep breath, 
You will not always be lost. 
You are right here, 
In your time, 
In your place.” 
― Joy Harjo, An American Sunrise