Note: This post is part of a series about building a personal relationship with God by reading the parables of Jesus. You can browse the entire series here.
God, it seems you’ve been our home forever; long before the mountains were born, long before you brought earth itself to birth…Psalm 90:1 MSG
What does “home” mean to you?
Each of us has our own personal way of feeling safe, accepted, and at peace. God wants us to feel at home with him—to be secure, to know who we are, and to always find our way toward him.
If we have not found these things in our relationship with God, or if we have wandered from our home, we will feel spiritually lost.
I experienced such a time when I was in my early forties. I felt lost because all of my most important and closest relationships were being strained. My wife and I had become critical of each other instead of admiring each other’s differences, causing a significant rift in our marriage.
Our son had just been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder; in the span of just a few months, he went from being talkative and happy to quiet and angry. To top it off, no matter how hard I worked at my job, I did not feel I was progressing or succeeding at what I did, and I was receiving similar feedback from my co-workers and boss.
Despite all the challenges I felt embroiled in, I knew my wife, my son, and my friends loved me. But I needed God’s help to “find my way home” to a place of inner security that only he could provide. Sometimes, no matter how many incredible friends we have and no matter how much we talk to them, only God can fill our space of need.
God got me through that time of struggle and matured me spiritually and emotionally. I had to learn how to draw closer to God and to be more honest. I began to express in prayer daily all the discouragement, disappointment, bitterness, and fear I was experiencing, crying out to God for the help I needed.
The Parable of the Lost Coin helps us understand and consider what it means to be lost and how God feels about us. Like what I went through in my forties, feeling spiritually lost is something everyone experiences, before and even after becoming a Christian.
Sometimes we lose our way and begin searching for feelings of security and belonging in other places and things. When those things can’t satisfy us, we will feel alone. Even if everything is going well in our lives, we won’t be able to shake feelings of dissatisfaction, aimlessness, emptiness, and purposelessness. We may feel unhappy, confused, or alone. Lostness doesn’t always look like suffering. It may be just not knowing where you’re going.
And yet, regardless of how lost or alone we may feel at times, we deeply matter to God. He is the one who can bring us home and save us from the fear, anxiety, and insecurity we carry with us. He’s doing everything he can to find us.
In this devotional, we will read a brief story that will help us understand what it feels like to be lost and how God responds to that feeling by always trying to bring us home.
God never stops searching for the lost
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?”Luke 15:8 NIV
In this parable, Jesus gives us a simple but vivid example of what it feels like to lose something valuable to us. Like this woman, when we misplace or lose something dear to us, we often stop everything else and search carefully until we find that treasure. This passage gives us a window into how God feels about us when we are lost and disconnected from him; he is eager and passionate about finding us and bringing us home.
Growing up, I had a German Shepherd named Onyx that I was deeply attached to. I grew up as an only child, so Onyx was like a brother to me. Every day, he would wait for me to come home from school. When I would start unlocking the door, one of my greatest joys was hearing Onyx jump around and wag his tail vigorously to see me as I walked in the house. He was one of a kind to me and irreplaceable.
One day when I was about 14, someone left the front door open and Onyx got loose. He was a runner, so he took off down the street and disappeared.
Just as the woman in this passage swept her house, we swept the neighborhood. We dropped everything, ran outside, and began searching up and down the street, but we couldn’t find him. We jumped in the car and began scouring the area, terrified that we had lost him.
After what felt like an eternity, Onyx finally appeared from between some houses. He saw our car and ran up to it, exhausted from running loose for 30 minutes. We opened the car door and he jumped in. It was one of the most relieving moments of my young life!
Until I read this parable, I never thought about or understood how God feels about me when I am “lost.”
Watch Now: God Is A Friend
Remembering the distress I felt when I lost my dog helps me understand and connect with how God feels about me and every one of us when we feel lost. God is constantly on the lookout for how he can help those of us who are struggling to find our way.
God will always “light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully” until he finds us. He has done that for me many times in my life. Sometimes a prayer time turns on a light in my mind or heart to see what God is doing in my life. Sometimes a call from a friend at just the right time guides me back to God.
Sometimes God speaks to me through the gratitude I feel for my life as I help a friend who’s going through something hard. Going through things together with friends has helped me find my own way at times.
If we feel lost, we can learn from this story that there are a few key things we can do to find our way home to God:
- Let God light a lamp in our lives. God’s Word is a lamp that lights up our way (see Luke 1:79 TPT and Psalm 119:105). The more we read it, the more we will find clarity about how to strengthen our relationship with God.
- Let God sweep the house by bringing any sins, emotions, and desires we may have hidden into the open and turning away from those sins. The Greek word for “sin” means “missing the mark,” and sin is simply something other than God that we turn to when we’re searching to fill the emptiness inside. “Sweeping the house” means clearing out these sins and learning to turn to God instead of them.
- Let God search carefully inside our hearts by digging deep and understanding why we do the things we do (for more on how to do that, see the first two studies in our Parables of Jesus Series: Understand Yourself to Understand God and Dig Deep to Stand Strong).
Pause and reflect:
- Have I experienced feeling spiritually lost? When?
- How does it make me feel to know that God won’t give up searching for me when I feel lost?
- Which of the three things mentioned above would be most helpful to focus on this week?
God rejoices when we come home
“And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”Luke 15:9-10 NIV
From this passage, it’s clear there’s a party in heaven every time someone chooses a relationship with God. God feels immense joy when we make decisions to turn to him. He celebrates when he finds us and values us genuinely no matter how we think about ourselves.
Not only does God rejoice, but that joy is shared. The woman in the story calls together her friends and neighbors to celebrate with her. This teaches us that God wants others to share in our change of heart and life.
When I studied the Bible to become a Christian, the process of dealing with my heart was transformative. The Bible not only changed me personally, but also changed the way I built relationships.
I had been afraid to come into the light with certain parts of what I felt or had done, so I built my relationships superficially, relying on people’s company and doing social activities together. I was very performance-focused in relationships, and I believed that I would only be loved if I excelled at certain things.
But the Bible taught me to be expressive and raw with my weaknesses, sins, and failings. When I tried that, my vulnerability was met with acceptance and love. My view of intimacy in friendship changed and opened me up to a whole new experience of what real closeness is.
I distinctly remember the joy of a new level of intimacy and closeness in my relationships with my friends and my parents. The shallowness and lack of purpose I had felt in my relationships transformed to new levels of depth and vision. This was exciting for me and for those close to me as we grew together. No longer relying on my performance, I
I felt a new sense of belonging.
Pause and reflect
- How does it make me feel to know that God rejoices every time I choose to be close to him, no matter how lost I may feel?
- How would I describe the closeness and intimacy of my spiritual friendships? What are some ways I would like them to grow?
When we misplace or lose something dear to us, we stop everything else and take great care to find what we treasure. This gives us a window into how God truly feels about us when we are lost.
When we make decisions to turn to God, his joy and celebration at finding and being found by us is shared – it ripples into our relationships with other people.
Pause and reflect
- How has a deeper look at this parable changed my view of how God sees and cares about me and how he longs to “find” me?
- Who else’s life has changed or can change by my turning to God?