Never lost, never alone
Nobody deserves to feel abandoned or lost. Wherever we are, the limitless love of our divine Parent is present to comfort, protect, and guide.
When I was about six years old, I got separated from my parents in an unfamiliar department store. The feeling of being lost, alone, separated from my mom and dad so terrified me to the core that I remember that feeling to this day.
So I was particularly moved watching a recent report on TV of a 10-year-old boy who was in a far more frightening situation – found alone and crying in the desert near the southern border of the United States, apparently abandoned by the group of migrants he had been traveling with.
Nobody deserves to feel so utterly alone. In my prayers about this, I’ve been inspired by the idea that the ever-present love of our ever-present Father-Mother God is right here – caring for, loving, protecting, and sustaining all of us.
There’s a story in the Bible that speaks to this. It’s the account of Hagar and Ishmael, a mother and boy who were banished into the wilderness (see Genesis 21). Right when all hope of survival was lost, the Scripture says, “God heard the voice of the lad,” and life-saving water was found. Both mother and son survived.
Jesus taught, through a parable, that those who got lost were specifically cared for: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep’” (Luke 15:4-6, New International Version).
If it’s a fearful and terrifying time for the child who is lost and alone, it’s often just as difficult for the parents. The sense of responsibility, the fear, the feeling of loss, the overwhelming sense of self-condemnation and guilt; all these can make it hard to know what to do. But God, Love, is here to calm and guide.
When our son was around four, my wife and a friend took their children to a large city zoo. Everyone was having a great time until my wife suddenly realized our son was missing. She frantically began searching for him, hampered not only by the unfamiliar surroundings but also by a language barrier – we were living in a country where we didn’t speak the local language.
As she searched, my wife prayed as she had learned to pray in Christian Science. She affirmed that God, our divine Father-Mother, was always caring for each of Her children, and that included caring for Her child right there and right then. My wife reasoned that our son was not lost to God, nor could he ever be, because God’s spiritual offspring are forever watched over by divine Love. This Love is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-embracing, and ever present.
These prayers had a calming effect on my wife. In a short time, someone realized what my wife was doing. Though they didn’t speak the same language, through gestures this person conveyed that our son was at one of the entrances to the zoo, not far away. Sure enough, when my wife got to the zoo entrance, our son was there, sitting between a couple, obviously feeling safe and cared for.
When we hear of lost children, whether our own or somewhere else in the world, there’s more we can do than get caught up in sadness or fear. We can take a moment to cherish the spiritual fact that God, our Father-Mother Love, is right that moment watching over every one of Her children – loving us, caring for us, providing everything we need. And we can affirm everyone’s right and innate ability to feel that loving care and peace.
As the founder of this news organization, Mary Baker Eddy, prays in a poem titled “Mother’s Evening Prayer”:
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
(“Poems,” p. 4)