Lost and Found

Have you totally lost it?

“And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying,

Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.”

Luke 15:9

This is probably a question you have asked yourself or have been asked by someone else. There are plenty of things that we wouldn’t mind losing- a few extra pounds, a bad habit- but there are many times we look for something in our life that SHOULD be there, but in frustration can’t find.

Loss can occur from the outside, like a theft, or a house fire that destroys a lifetime of memories. Or a piece of luggage that doesn’t show up at the baggage claim when you do. They can be permanent, as in the fire, or temporary (hopefully) as in the luggage. Such losses are hard but still carry a sense of closure.

But loss can occur on the inside, also. Loved ones become alienated when an aging mother or father develops dementia. A crushing sadness that, despite coaching and reminiscing and prayers and prodding can’t be soothed, as those memories are gone forever; that relationship will never be the same.

A Soul and a Scroll

The silver in Luke 15 certainly pictures a soul, lost indeed among the stuff. The lady of the house lights a lamp and searches high and low: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” (Revelation 22:17) We must keep the house clean so that not one falls between the cracks.

“What shall

it profit a man

if he should gain

the whole world

& lose his own soul?”

Matt. 16:26

The silver also symbolizes the English Scripture, the King James Bible of 1611. In Psalm 12:6-7 David prophesies, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

Never again would there be a question mark over the head of the saint of God: “Yea, hath God said?” The King James Bible can be accessed in a public library, on the internet, as a free app for your computer or phone. You can find it for sale from the lacquer-layered shelf of an antique shop to the dollar store. From the outside, it is not lost…

But fear we have lost it on the inside. I don’t just need God’s word in my hand, I need it in my heart. The truth has always been there, on the desk. But I need it here, in my conscience. Unless I read it daily, I will lose my way in my Christian life.

The paradox: that you can lose the truth, and yet know right where it is.

John Bunyan captured this in his allegory of the believer’s life, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Pilgrim, named Christian, had toiled up the Hill of Difficulty and was exhausted. He sat down in a shady-resting place (the Arbor) prepared for weary travelers along the rough road. He stopped only to read and rest a minute but fell instead into a deep sleep and his Scroll fell from his hand. When he was awakened, he rushed away, not realizing that the Scroll was missing.

Many a Christian has walked in the Pilgrim’s shoes- how he lost his Scroll due to the preoccupations of his journey. But we are shown not only how he lost it, but how he reclaimed it. In Bunyan’s words:

He felt for his scroll in his chest pocket so that he might read it and be comforted. But to his great surprise, the scroll was not to be found. As a result, Christian became very distressed, and did not know what to do; this token was his
means of gaining relief from his fears, as well as being his pass for entering the Celestial City. Therefore, at this point the pilgrim was perplexed in not knowing what he should do.

Then he recalled his sleeping at the Arbor halfway up the Hill Difficulty and suspected what had happened. So falling down on his knees, he asked God for forgiveness due to his foolish neglect, and commenced to return down the Hill looking for his scroll. But oh, who could imagine just how sorrowful of heart he was every step of the way?

As the Christian recalls the last time he read his Scroll, he begins to grieve because of the wasted time he spent trying to move forward in his journey. Now, he must return back down the Hill of Difficulty to regain what he has lost. He regrets:

‘So I am made to tread this way again with sorrow, which ought to have been trodden only with delight, had it not been for this sinful sleep. How far ahead on my way might I have been by this time! Instead, I must tread these steps
three times instead of once.’

Have you lost your place in your Scroll? Has it been so long you can’t remember where you last read your Bible?

You may well have to restart your spiritual journey where you left off in the Book. I can promise you, though, it is well worth the round-trip. Your ‘Hill of Difficulty’ won’t get any easier, but with the Word of God at your side, you can face life going forward, never reverse.

And who can possibly tell just how joyful this man was when he had recovered his scroll? For this scroll was the assurance of his life, and the token of his acceptance at the desired haven. Therefore Christian, having returned his scroll to his chest pocket, offered fervent thanks to God for His directing of his eyes to the place where it had fallen. So with joy and tears he now focused upon moving ahead in his journey.

The Pilgrim’s Progress

It wasn’t until Christian felt the sting of the loss that he was able to go back, find it, and rejoice.

May you and I not be in too much of a hurry to do likewise.

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