Finding Your Way When You Feel Spiritually Lost
As I scan the lake’s unfamiliar shore, a knot starts to form in the pit of my stomach. I am so lost. About two hours earlier, I mindlessly jumped onto a jet ski to take a quick ride and come straight back. You see, spontaneity and open waters aren’t what I’d consider to be “my thing.”
Somehow, I lose my bearings on this massive lake and jet away in the opposite direction. I’m sure my family is considering worst-case scenarios. My confidence is running on fumes as I desperately cry out to God for help.
Eventually, I find a stranger and borrow their phone. Finally, I’m saved! But wait, no one answers their phone! Isn’t my family supposed to be worried about me? Despite the remote location, we manage to find enough of a signal to look on a GPS where I think I might have come from, and make an “educated” guess about which direction to go. And I lived humbly ever after!
Not my most inspirational story.
I was lost, wandering around a lake for a couple of hours. It’s hardly a parallel, but I can’t imagine how an entire generation of Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years! Maybe you can at least relate to feeling so utterly lost. Sometimes my head and my heart don’t line up; my head knows that God is always with me, but my heart feels far from Him. Thankfully, God used my experience that day to teach me some important Truths about what to do when feeling spiritually lost.
First, lay down your pride and ask for help. When I feel distant, I have a direct connection to God. He does not depend on a cell signal and always answers my calls! Unfortunately, I find myself in the most trouble when I relentlessly strive to do it my way. Instead of carefully listening to God’s voice and being obedient, I am blinded by pride.
Moses learns the hard way in the desert when he tries to appease the impatient Israelites’ demand for water his way instead of God’s way. God tells Moses he will not have the privilege of leading the people into the Promised Land, “because you did not trust in me enough to honor me” (Number 20:12). When you feel frustrated and lost in your own spiritual desert, do not forsake your direct lifeline. Ask for help!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Next, know your landmarks. My monumental mistake was taking off into the great unknown without first orienting myself to my surroundings. When we feel lost spiritually, perhaps it is because we lose sight of God’s promises as our ultimate reference point to remember where we came from, and where our hope lies.
God reassures his people, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Their newly appointed leader Joshua finally leads the Israelites out of the desert and into the Promised Land. After God parts the Jordan River the same way he parted the Red Sea, the Israelites take twelve stones and build a memorial, “so that all peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful” (Joshua 4:24). When you feel lost, identify your landmarks where God’s hand has been on your life and remember his promises for your future.
Finally, know where you are going. It wasn’t until I looked at a map that I gained some semblance of directional awareness. Lucky for us, we don’t have to wander aimlessly in a spiritual fugue. When we hide God’s living and active word (Hebrews 4:12) in our hearts that and do what it says, we move intentionally—just as a soldier purposefully plans their steps for battle. Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.”
James tells us, “if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
When have you felt spiritually lost or disconnected? I’d love to hear how you met God in prayer, remembered His promises, or searched in His word to find your way.
Lost, but found in Christ,