First of all, let's talk about the obvious situation here. The situation that lets every mom who's ever felt like they weren't good enough off the hook....
Mary lost the messiah, the son of God. She lost God.
I haven't lost my child before but I have worked in stores where parents have lost their children and can say first hand that they become frantic very quickly. I also know any of us parents who's ever had something happen to our child in any capacity when we weren't watching them as closely as we maybe should have, have instantly felt like the worst parent in the world. But if Mary, the one who's placed in a place of honor by select religious groups can get away with losing her son (again...the messiah) without noticing for a full day, then I think most of us get a "get out of jail free card" from our guilt and shame in this area.
Now that I've addressed the obvious mom guilt in this scenario, what about the maybe more metaphorical side that we can all take away from in this situation. Losing Jesus!
I don't know about you, but I love that shirt that says, "don't make me lose my Jesus." Aka, don't tick me off. I think every born again Christian has felt this way at one time or another. You know those days where someone is just pushing you so far that the "old Gwen (you)" is real close to coming out. There are days when I have to open my Bible and remind myself about killing that side of me (Romans 8:12-13).
One time, there was an incident Luis and I encountered where we were so mad at a particular person. I was raging inside (which I tend to not hide very well btw....don't judge me, I'm a work in progress), but all of a sudden this peace just came over Luis. I was looking at him and was so confused by how he wasn't angrier too. In that moment, he looked at me and said,
God reminded me, you can't lose your Jesus, you give Him away.
A while later, a little old man spoke truth into Luis about the same thing, He said,
If you grumble or rejoice , It's your choice!
We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. That's what the Lord was telling us in both lessons. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't like it. It was true, but it was a hard bite for me to chew.
But God says, “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!" (Deut 11:26). He gives us the choice daily. He wants us to have joy but sometimes we choose curses by having a poor attitude or how we react to crappy situations or when we choose sin over God.
Mary treasured Jesus, and knew Him intimately, but it had been a full day before they noticed the absence of His presence. We do the same thing. We say we love Him and that He is our Lord and savior, but sometimes time goes by without us even noticing the distance between us. When we choose sin, we chose to put a divider between us and God.
Think about the story of Sampson. He chose sin. He chose to step outside of the covering that God had given him and it ultimately caused separation between Him and the Lord.
"Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him." Judges 16:20
When the Lord had left Him, Sampson lost his strength but rose up to fight not even realizing that His presence was missing. Just like Mary and Joseph didn't realize Jesus wasn't with them, Sampson didn't realize it either. He rose up just like he had in the past, but this time the Lord was no longer with him and he wasn't protected. But in the end of this story, Sampson seeks the Lord and the Lord again returns to him giving him the power he needed to defeat the Philistines one last time.
What about us though? When we feel like Jesus seems so far away from us or our situation? What about when we're losing our faith?
I would be lying to you if I said that I didn't ever struggle with my faith. I think we all do at some point or another, but it's what we do in those moments that make all the difference. Jeremiah 29:11 is the verse that saved my life, but just past that in Jeremiah 29:13, we find another verse that helps us when we feel the distance between us and God. "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." There's verses in Matthew 7 and all throughout Psalms that echo this same theme. God doesn't abandon us (Deut. 31:6, Heb 13:5), He's just waiting for us to invite Him into the situation (Rev 3:20), but sometimes we do have to seek Him.
As a mother actively seeks a lost child, we need to actively seek Jesus when we're losing our faith?
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalms 63:1
If you are losing faith, seek God. If you feel like God is far away, maybe you need to reexamine your situation and see if perhaps it's you who's re-positioned. Rely on His word to restore you and remind yourself what He's already done in your life. We can sometimes get really short minded and forget all of the deliverance that's already taken place causing what's in front of us to seem larger than life.
We can't rely on the revelations of others to get us by, we need our own understanding of God's will for our individual lives. People will fail us. Our spouses and children will fail us. Those celebrity pastors, worship leaders and influencers we look up to will fail us. We don't know what others are going through and they could all be having their own battles and forgetting who God originally was/is in their life and will inevitably fail us.
But God's word is truth! He will never fail us. The answer to some of our prayers may be NO, but that doesn't mean he failed us. It just means that His ways are above ours.
Lord, I pray for anyone who is on their last limb. I pray for those who have been struggling in their faith and feel the distance between you and them. I pray that they will seek you with all their heart, that they will seek out your strength and your presence continually as it says to do in 1 Chronicles 16:11. Those who have separated themselves by choosing sin, I pray that you will draw them back to you as you say you will in John 6:44. I pray that you will fulfill your promise to have compassion on them, and that you will abundantly pardon them (Isa. 55:7). Lord I pray that they will know their value and that your words says that you would leave thee 99 for the one (Matt 18:12) even if they were that one. Lord I pray that they find peace in their situation no matter how bad it is. Lord you do not grow weary (Isa 40:28) and you don't get tired of us coming to you with our issues or problems. You are faithful and will restore those who put their trust in you (Isa 40:31). Your word is good and your plans are good (Jer 29:11). I praise you Lord, in Jesus name I pray. Amen