I don't know about you, but I hate being lost. That feeling that you do not know where you are or where you are meant to be going.
A number of years ago I had to drive through the
mighty city of Calcutta (or Kolkata as it is now called).
Kolkata is home to over fifteen million people and is
a sprawling maze of narrow roads where every
conceivable form of transport wrestles for its place.
I was on my way to Delhi and I was driving on my
own. I had been given instructions as to where I
could stay the night - the address I can still
remember: 128 Chandra Bose Road.
Before setting out I had also been given instructions
how to find the house where I would be staying.
The instructions began 'Keep on the ring road until
you come to a roundabout with a Bata shoe shop,
there you must turn right'.
The problem was that the ring road had multiple
roundabouts and every single one seemed to have
a Bata shoe shop on it! I obviously took the wrong
right turn, for after some time I realized that I was well and truly lost. In desperation I stopped at a petrol station to get more fuel and to ask for directions. The man behind the counter could not help laughing for I was not only on the wrong side of the river and a long way from my destination but I would have to do a major detour due to a one way system. I started to walk back to my van feeling terribly lost and alone. Just then a man approached me. I had never seen him before but he had overheard me saying I needed to find Chandra Bose Road. He too was going that way and said he would come with me and show me the way.
As he sat beside me giving directions, a sense of peace and comfort overwhelmed me.
As I think about that experience it sums up to me the spiritual condition of mankind. The Bible makes it clear that we are lost spiritually. Isaiah 53: 6 states 'We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way ...'. Due to our sin we have alienated ourselves from God, turned our back on Him; we are spiritually lost. But how wonderful it is to realize that that is not the end of the story. God in His mercy sent his one and only Son to this world. Jesus came to be the way back to the God. Thomas, one of the Jesus' disciples, asked Jesus what was the way back to God and this is what Jesus said: 'I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' (John 14:6)
God did not send us a bewildering set of rules or directions for us to follow to try and make our own way back to God. No, God sent His Son who is the Way back to God. It is when we trust and follow Jesus as our Lord and Saviour that the Way back to God is opened up.
And for those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus, how wonderfully reassuring it is to know that not only is Jesus the Way but he is also Immanuel, God with us. He travels with us every step of the way throughout life. He has promised us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)