It may seem like a very, very long time ago, but we started the year doing a church wide series by Timothy Keller that looked at the parable of the two sons in Luke 15. The preceding verses to this parable were also stories of lost and found – the lost sheep and the lost coin.
I was taken back to these passages when I heard the recent news story of William Callaghan, a 14 year old boy who ended up lost, really lost. He got lost walking with his family in a place with an apt name – Mount Disappointment, Victoria.
What made William’s lostness worse was:
- He has autistic and non-verbal. He was unlikely to fully comprehend his predicament, nor call out for help.
- He was lost for three days and two freezing cold nights in the wilderness.
His situation was dire and with every passing moment, hope ebbed away at finding him alive.
William’s story reminded me of the lostness of those in our family, those of our friends that don’t know Jesus. They do not know the predicament they are in and rarely are they crying out for help.
What warmed my heart was when I read about the rescue attempt to find William. William’s family could not find him on their own. Friends came. Family came. 500 people who had never met William came.
The search effort was specific to William. People in the nearby houses played Thomas the Tank Engine because it was what he listened to. They started up barbeques and cooked onions because that is what he like to eat. All this was done to entice William to come closer, so that he could be found.
I think of all my/your family and friends that are lost out there and the great efforts needed to see them found. They need us, those that have been found, that know Jesus, to seek them out. To pray for them. They need a huge search party filled with people that don’t even know them personally to pray/search. They need us to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to know what ‘cooking barbequed onions’ and ‘playing Thomas the tank engine’ looks like for the lost person we are praying for. And we need to not lose hope, but trust that the one who seeks after all His lost sheep, is still seeking after each one that we love. And even when all hope seems lost, disappointment can turn to rejoicing.
On Mount Disappointment, after three days and two frozen nights, when hope seemed lost, William Callaghan was found !
The rejoicing was heard not just by his family and his friends, not just at the mountain, not just in the town, but throughout Victoria and across Australia. William had been found.
I am so thankful for this modern-day example of the imagery Jesus spoke of when He described the rejoicing in heaven, whenever one of His lost are found.