I grew up in the country, hiking alone in the woods before my age reached double digits. So when we honeymooned in the Pocono Mountains it was natural for me to suggest a hike in the woods behind the resort. There were no established trails but that did not deter this intrepid wilderness scout.
We were soon lost. It had seemed so simple that I had observed none of the precautions that I had learned in the Marines. I climbed a tree to look for landmarks. My bride hid her terror and made a fist to keep her too-loose new rings from slipping off her fingers. As we hiked along, she was not as close behind as I thought and a branch I’d held a moment for her, slapped her in the face when I let go. It also knocked her off balance and she plopped down unceremoniously in a large mud puddle. Finally, through no skills of my own, we stumbled out to a road and walked back to the resort. Embarrassing—and very humbling—to be lost less than a mile from safety.
Spiritually, I have never felt that hopelessness of being lost and without direction. My parents raised me with God and the Bible as my compass. I’ve wandered away a few times and misunderstood the directions on occasion, but I always knew where the road home was.
But I think I know how it feels to be lost. A person grows up today without much teaching concerning the direction of life. If evolution is true, God isn’t. If God is not, there is no reward for good behavior; no punishment for bad. One can go through life getting the degree, the job, the promotion and suddenly realize he has no value, no worth in a world of billions.
More than embarrassing, this “lost” is terrifying, destroying all self-worth and leaving one without hope, destined to be forgotten with Ozymandius in a grave where no marker will withstand the passing centuries.
God is. God loves you. God created you and wrote an owner’s manual to lead you in the joyful life and onward to eternal life. The pleasures of sin are as enticing as a walk in the woods. They always hurt you and hurt others, and leave you empty and alone in the dark woods. You will never stumble out of the woods on your own.
God sent a light. Jesus is the way. Righteousness is the good life.
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:5-6