We couldn’t find her anywhere! And it had happened so quickly! We were standing at the check-out when our two-year old daughter was suddenly missing! It was 1989, but I remember it like it was yesterday!
My beloved and I had wrestled the buggy and two kids all over the Kroger store. Our little girl was two, and our son was a few months old. (Paying for the groceries was always the most stressful part of the trip. We were still living mostly on love.) We were settling up with the cashier just a few feet from the front door, when we were horrified to find that our daughter was missing!
When you find that a child is not with you, it’s scary, shocking and surreal. You try to appear calm while inside you are ready to scream…becoming more desperate by the moment. We called her name repeatedly, looking high and low for her curly head. She had been right there! We were afraid she had somehow wondered out the front door into traffic. Bystanders rushed out to see if they could find her in the parking lot. My beloved and I-both struggling not to cry-split up to cover the store. Employees helped search the building.
I handed my baby boy to David Stanley. He was almost a neighbor and I had known him when I worked at the bank. He had always seemed nice. I raced to the back of the store, even into the employee’s lounge. “Jessica! Jessica!” I called, trying not to be hysterical. “Please, Lord, help us!” I cried as we ran all over the store. “Where could she be?”
Don’t you think that’s exactly how Mary and Joseph felt when they couldn’t find Jesus in Luke 2?! Holy Smokes, I bet they were scared to death! They had left Jesus in Jerusalem and didn’t even know it! I wonder if they had a big fight when they realized He wasn’t in the caravan. “I thought He was with YOU,” Mary probably said. “Well, I THOUGHT He was with YOU!” Joseph might have responded. Then the three day search began. Imagine the conversation on the way. “Joseph! We have lost the Son of God! We are going to be in soooo much trouble! First, He was born in a barn and now THIS!” “Jesus! Jesus! Where are You!” (I have a great imagination!)
They searched through their relatives and friends, and then headed back to Jerusalem where they had last seen Him. When they finally, finally, found Him, He was right there at the temple. Mary, obviously emotionally drained, blurted out, “Why have you done this to us?!” I’m thinking there were tears, but I’m a girl.
Three days! Three long days, which was the same as forever! Our baby girl was only lost for 30 minutes and we nearly croaked. She was hiding in the buggies just a few feet from the cash register where we had been standing! She watched as we ran all over the store! (I want to spank her now just thinking about it!)
This week at the jail, we studied this riveting story. Each time, we read God’s Word, we want to see if it applies to our lives in any way. What do you think? Mary and Joseph had left Jesus and not even realized it. Has that ever happened to you? When they did realize something was wrong, they searched for the answer with relatives and friends. Has that ever happened to you? When they had looked everywhere else, they finally went to church (or the temple). Has that ever happened to you? When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, the first thing they asked Him was, “Why have you done this to us?!” Has that ever happened to you? When Jesus gave them His answer, they didn’t understand. Has that ever happened to you?
Who ever said the Bible had nothing to do with real life?! It’s like gold, if we dig into it. Lessons we can learn: 1) We need to make a point to be in church or Bible study regularly. If it was good for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, it’s good enough for us! 2) We need to spend time daily with Jesus…in His Word, praying, etc. If we don’t, we will be far away from Him before we know it. 3) We don’t need to look for salvation in other people. Friends and relatives can be great, but they should never come before or take the place of Jesus. 4) We often get frustrated and don’t understand exactly what Jesus is doing in our lives. Last one…5) Jesus went with them, just like He does with us!
When my beloved found our daughter hiding in the buggies, he brought her straight to me. (I was in frozen foods.) I fell on my knees crying, so thankful she had been found!
I picture Mary falling on her knees crying, too. She had found Jesus! They had found Jesus!
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.