1: not claimed
2: no longer known
3: ruined or destroyed physically or morally
Many children are lost. Their parents don’t notice where they go. Their relatives don’t take time to learn their favorite colors. They have sinned, and like the rest of the human race, they cannot stop.
She wouldn’t meet my eyes. “How old are you, Melissa?” (Name changed)
“Your friend told me you’re five. Is that right?”
“Would you like to make bubbles?” I dipped the wand in the soap, trailing suds across my 5-Day-Club T-shirt. An ant crawled across the cracked pavement where we sat, five feet away from an excited, energetic game of splish-splish-splash (duck-duck-goose with water). But Melissa was too shy to join.
I blew a stream of bubbles. When Melissa saw me watching her, she turned away. “Here, you try, Melissa.” Careful not to look at her this time, I offered the wand. She blew a bubble and looked down again. Not even the hint of a smile. She hunched her shoulders, turning away from me.
Two minutes later, she was crying. “I couldn’t help it,” Melissa sobbed as a big stain spread around the pavement where she had wet her pants. She huddled against the wall, trying to disappear.
“No problem,” our 5-Day Club hostess said. “My daughter’s clothes will fit you.”
As my co-teacher helped the children memorize Luke 19:10 about Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost, I watched Melissa surreptitiously. Please hear the Gospel. But Melissa remained unresponsive.
One year later, I taught a 5-Day Club at the same house. Children shrieked and dumped buckets of water on each other, but Melissa was not there. “She’s visiting Mexico,” our 5-Day Club hostess explained. “Her father was deported a year ago. Losing a parent is traumatic.”
These are the children who break my heart: the lost children.
Finding requires effort: to claim, to know thoroughly, to redeem. Finding requires blood, sweat, and tears. Our Good Shepherd thought it was worth it.
As the kids filed out of the classroom after the Bible lesson, 13-year-old Kaitlin (named changed) sidled up to me. “Hi!” I smiled at her. She remained serious.
“I hear voices in my head telling me not to talk to you. But I know I’m lost like that sheep in the story the Good Shepherd told,” she whispered, plucking nervously at the hem of her shorts.
I smiled again. “The enemy doesn’t want people to be found, but Jesus gave His blood—He died and came alive again—to help lost people get found.”
We talked some more; she prayed; she walked out of the classroom with a big grin.
A year later, I finished a Bible lesson at the same club and watched the children file out: all but one. Kaitlin waited until the others had left, but she didn’t sidle up to me—she walked boldly. “Hi! I prayed with you last year to be found.” Kaitlin’s face lit up with a smile. “I don’t hear those voices anymore. I’ve been reading the Bible and praying.”
Lost and found. Blood, sweat, and tears. Totally worth it.
Jesus, You are the Only One
Who can give us what we need:
We need Your love and forgiveness
Even more than mac and cheese.
We love games, prizes and presents—
After all, we are girls and boys—
But only Your Spirit’s Presence
Can honestly give us real joy.
And when our earthly moms and dads
Are far away or lost,
You are our Heavenly Father
Who finds us through the cross.
-by Anna Beth Wildman, CEF staff