For our vacations, Terry and I usually spend a second week together at Ocean City, Md., after spending the previous week there with all our family.
However, recently we spent our second week in Virginia Beach, Va.
Late in the week, we visited the Virginia Beach Aquarium. While it all was interesting to me, it was more of a joy to watch the wonderment and reactions of children getting up close to sharks, turtles and the many other varieties of fish clearly seen swimming in the water tanks.
But, the aquarium also has an extensive outside preserve of birds and water life to observe along easy-walking trails. At one point, we sat down on a bench to mark time, enjoy the scenery and chat. However, a little later, a curious person came into sight. We observed a young boy trotting along the trail.
He stopped and positioned himself at a nearby bench. He looked around nervously. He sat down for a minute, and then rose and trotted away. But, he came back a short time later and sat down. He was obviously uncomfortable for some reason.
After a moment, Terry asked, “Are you lost?”
The boy covered his face with his hands and cried hard. Terry invited him to come and to sit with us, which he did. He was rather forthcoming as he answered Terry’s questions. His name was Jacob Cruise. He was from Mississippi. He was 9 years old.
He had been with his family, but, without telling them, had walked away from them to go to another point along the trail. He had been sure that he could find them again, but it did not work out that way. He could not relocate them. When he realized he was lost, it scared him. Concerning his lost-ness, he kept telling Terry, “I hope my dad does not read about this in the newspapers back home!”
This incident made me contemplate in-depth a very critical spiritual reality, in that, a person never having received the salvation of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is actually lost. Jacob was separated from his family and was lost. A person without relationship with God is lost.
God is everyone’s Creator, but because of personal sinfulness, a person is alienated from God. There is no relationship with God because of the lost spiritual condition. Jesus put it in poignant terms, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.”
Lost-ness from God. How does that feel? The urgency of this critical spiritual circumstance is realized only when the reality of what it means to be lost from God sinks into the depths of one’s soul. Jacob felt OK in his independence only until he realized that he was lost, and what it could mean to him, particularly as it concerned his dad reading about it in the newspapers.
If there has never been a time that you received the salvation of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are lost. It should prevail upon you to consider the spiritual ramifications, not only to be lost from God presently, but also to be lost from God eternally.
Lost-ness from God! How is it resolved? Lost-ness from God is only resolved when one becomes submissive to help. Jacob was submissive to Terry’s offer for help. One’s personal lost-ness from God is only resolved when one realizes how lost they are from God and submits to the help that Jesus Christ has provided by way of his substitutionary death on the Cross and victorious Resurrection from death.
After about 15 minutes waiting with Jacob, I went to the office to report about Jacob. However, Terry said she saw a man hurrying along the trail. Pointing out the man to him, Jacob got up quickly and ran to the man, who put his hand on Jacob’s shoulder. Both of them walked off together.
Jacob got found — which means that his dad did not have to read about Jacob’s lost-ness in the newspapers.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.