Losing Jesus


When PB was about 10 years old, his family took a trip out west with some friends. Three carloads with five adults and seven kids set out to see the sights of the wild west. To keep boredom and mayhem to a minimum, they let the kids switch cars at every pit stop. The caravan pulled into Cody, Wyoming for some car repairs and then loaded up everybody and hit the road. At least, they thought they had everybody. Poor little PB looked down the street and saw his parent’s Vista Cruiser leaving without him. He ran down the road, chasing after them, crying and waving his arms. Good thing his dad happened to look in the rearview mirror. They had wrongly assumed their youngest son was in one of the other vehicles. Their traveling companions thought the little guy was in his parent’s car.


I’m so glad they didn’t leave PB there in Cody, Wyoming.

I might never have found him.

I’ve lost keys, engagement rings and concert tickets, but as a parent of four, I never left town without a kid. I do have a foggy memory of having a store manager get on the public address system and announce, “If there is a Katie Overlien in the store, please come to the registers. Your mother is waiting.”

It happens to the best of us.

It happened to Mary and Joseph.

They were on their 70 mile return trip from celebrating Passover in Jerusalem, when Mary said to Joseph, “I thought he was with you” and Joseph said to Mary, “I thought he was with you.” What a terrible feeling for a parent to realize their child is missing. And this boy wasn’t just any kid. He was God’s Son. They had lost God’s Son. How would they explain this to God?

“Thank you for sending Your Son to save the world from sin. Sorry, but we lost him.”

Talk about parental guilt.

This story has a happy ending. After three sleepless nights, Mary and Joseph found their boy, talking theology with the priests in the temple. Of course.

Author Lauren Winner writes, “I have great sympathy for Joseph and Mary. I lose Jesus all the time.” Me too.

I lose Jesus when I’m so set on my agenda that I go for days before noticing I’m miles down the road and I’ve left Him in my dust.

I lose Jesus when I’m caught up in the crowd, sure He must be there somewhere. Probably. Maybe. I guess I’d better check.

I lose Jesus when I look in all the wrong places for what only He can give and then finally find Him in worship. Of course.

I lose Jesus when anxiety throbs, worry festers and sleepless nights keep me from trusting that He is about His Father’s business, even if I don’t understand.

The fact is, Jesus is never the lost one.

I am.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19:10


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