Thursday, September 22, 2022
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Hideth My Soul"1 (Lyrics)

When I was three years old, I experienced what it was to be lost. Although the details are compiled from old letters, the feelings of panic and not knowing how to get back to my parents are deeply embedded in my memory.

In the early 1950s, my parents belonged to the Swimming Club, a social venue in Singapore where Europeans would congregate on weekends. On Sundays, my parents would set out in their little Austin 8 to spend their day of rest at the ocean. They would stake out a shady spot in an outdoor restaurant area by the swimming pool to relax and meet friends.

My new baby brother slept peacefully in the little rattan basket that I had once slept in. Everyone oohed and aahed over the baby, congratulating my parents and pronouncing him healthy and handsome. I didn't like to hear talk like this. For three years I'd had my parents' complete love and attention, and I didn't want to share it with this newcomer.

I wandered away through the maze of tables and chairs, not paying any attention to where I was headed. Maybe I was subconsciously thinking to get away from the scene where my brother was the centre of attention. I walked farther and farther away. My wandering may have been only minutes, but soon I didn't know where I was. Tables and chairs surrounded me, and I was lost.

Where were Maminka and Tatinek? They probably weren't very far away, but I had no idea how to get back to them.

Eventually my parents found me. I felt their reproach. "Look," they pointed. "We were right over there. Couldn't you see us?" I stared at them dumbly, my finger in my mouth. I couldn't explain. All I knew was the paralyzing feeling of not knowing how to get back. I felt so stupid. Being found was a relief, tempered, however, by the feeling that I shouldn't have been lost in the first place.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. (NRSV)

Reacting out of their concern for me, my parents seemed to lack compassion. They didn't know God at that point, so perhaps didn't know how to console me without first scolding me. I have forgiven them for the deficiencies in their parenting; they could express only what they, themselves, had experienced.

Unlike earthly parents, our God is the perfect Father. He is the source of all comfort. Not only does he console us in our troubles, He strengthens us and encourages us. He allows us to go through trials so that we, in turn, can give comfort to others. Let's be sensitive to reflect the character of God to others, and to comfort them with the same comfort that has been so mercifully shown to us.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being the God of all comfort and the perfect parent. Help us to take this same comfort and use it to encourage others who are experiencing troubles. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Alice Burnett <terrencera.burnett@gmail.com>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Alice.

    Praise God that we have the perfect Father!

    Interesting post and great advice, Alice. Thanks and blessings!

    Great message Alice. Thanks for this important reminder!

    A most compelling truth and the predictable human deficiency. Blessings Alice!

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us! Yes, God is always watching out for us. Blessings.

    Dear Alice,
    Ah! and Amen. Isn’t it amazing what God teaches us in hindsight, and yet those experiences are so necessary to minister to each other, and to those who do not yet believe. Thanks for your insightful devotional.

    Many thanks Alice for another of your very mindful devotionals. Yes, we need be so thankful for the comfort we receive from seeking and knowing our loving Lord. It is important that we show that same kind of comforting care to others who we know are going through troubling times and be ready to give them a helping hand. Blessings for these writings you do.

    Good morning, Alice,
    I can remember that feeling when a child wanders away and you become so worried that when you find the child you are so happy to see them, but that anxiety comes out in the wrong way. Guilty as charged.
    A great message of God’s comfort and who can we offer comfort and encouragement to in our own way. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    Good morning, Alice.
    Thank you for your devotional today!
    Your story reminds me of a similar incident in my childhood (the early 1950’s) when I followed my Dad as he was leaving the house. The person who was supposed to be keeping an eye on me thought I had reached my Dad so thought little more about me. In turn, my Dad jumped on a streetcar on a busy Toronto street so that when I reached the spot where I thought I could meet him, he was gone.
    I continued to walk along that busy street and was approached by a concerned woman who thought I might belong in a local apartment. She took me there and asked some people and I can remember playing with some toys (thinking that the toys were really great). When it was realized that I didn’t belong there, she took me to her home and I can remember feeling a little sad and lonely there. The woman called the police and I was picked up and taken to the local station and given ice cream to eat – so that was pretty good!!
    I can’t even imagine my mother’s panic while I was having this exciting experience!
    I guess she must have called the police when she realized that I had actually wandered off down the street and they couldn’t see or find me.
    The last thing I remember is having a ride in a police car, home, and my Mom running across the front lawn toward the car. I think I was pretty happy to see her but I’d also had a very exciting and new experience so I cannot remember feeling particularly upset.
    It’s surprising that I remember the details I do, but I can still see this so clearly and I was very young at the time. Thankfully, I was well-cared-for by someone on the street who wanted to help. I know it could have been SO much worse.
    I certainly remembered this incident over and over when my own children were young, and I thank God that that they were kept safely.
    Keep writing, please!
    May God bless you.

    The comfort received from God we can share with others showing sympathy and understanding.

    Dear Alice,
    Just want to say how much I enjoy your devotionals.
    Blessings, and many thanks.

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