Posted by: Mad Lamb | 01/05/2017

Lost and found

A while, I lost a bag. It only cost 99p, when I bought this black, nylon magazine-freebie from a charity shop several years ago. I’ve mended the pink lining once, so it should not have mattered. However, I don’t like losing anything, and it was a very useful and smart bag. It folded down easily to fit in my handbag but it was deceptively big and the handles were incredibly strong.

One Sunday, after walking to church, I noticed that the large zipped side-pocket on my handbag, where I kept it with two other folding shopping bags, was wide open. The two other bags were still there but not my 99p bag.  So I decided to retrace my exact route after the service. Despite checking much wider than my immediate path and asking in shops that I passed, I did not find my bag. I wondered if I should have asked the street cleaner I passed if he had seen it, rather than being too embarrassed to do so. Later that week, I even took a trip to a charity shop on the route. There had been several dustbin bags of donations left in the doorway when I passed and I wondered if someone may have seen my bag and handed it in for them to sell. Though I doubted someone would want my mended bag, even for 99p. Dejected, I mourned the loss of this bag and wondered if I could ever find anything quite like it again.

As I don’t like losing things, I am usually very good at finding things, especially cats. When we lived in Orkney I spent several evenings walking the single-track roads around our house calling out for a cat that hadn’t turned up for their supper. Often they would arrive at my feet, having been engrossed in a nearby field hunting rabbits, however sometimes they needed to be found. One was found in the school’s polytunnel, where he had probably been snoozing in the warm afternoon sun and didn’t notice them locking up. Another was found trapped inside a lobster creel … three times in the same week and twice in the same creel. It was only on the second visit I realised there was a dead bird in the creel that obviously had been very appealing but not sure what happened on the third time – apart from the pull of the strong smell of fish.

Each time I walked out after a missing cat, I prayed and asked God to help me find them and was ever so grateful when I did. I often pray when I’m looking for something that I’ve lost and think about poor Jonah. After being annoyed that God saved Nineveh, Jonah tended a plant that grew to give him shade and mourned when it died. God seems very harsh when he berated Jonah for caring for the plant and then being sad for it’s loss, although I know he was using it to show Jonah how much he cared for Nineveh.

On the way to church on the day I lost my bag, I had been thinking about losing and finding things. I thought it would make a good topic for a blog. So, as I walked back home, although I prayed as usual, I wondered if losing my bag was some sort of lesson from God and I shouldn’t be wasting prayer on something so unimportant as a 99p bag.

The following Friday I was looking for some keys. My handbag has two large side pockets. In the side opposite to where I keep my shopping bags there are three chains with rings that dangle long enough to be zipped inside the side-pocket. I  clip my keys onto these to keep them safe. As I checked in that pocket for the keys, I realised my beloved bag was tucked in there after all. It was not lost, God was not depriving me of my simple pleasures but I had just put it in the wrong place in my rush to get out in time for the service.

Since then I’ve often thought about how much time I spend looking for, and praying about, an object or animal I have lost. Some things definitely need to be found, like our wandering pets, but I often think the others are also waiting to be found. Looking for someone to need them, that’s why I spend time looking for them, regardless of their value to anyone else.

As I also reflected on Jonah’s story, I wonder if I should be also spending time praying and looking for lost people. Not just those proverbially ‘lost to the kingdom’, but also those feeling lost socially.  People who feel lost, due to events that have affected them, or feel discarded by society or family. These are people who need to be found, need to be wanted, to be given purpose in life.

I’m a member of a few closed groups on Facebook where topics for prayer often come up, and I’m thankful for the privilege of being able to pray for others, and for the times they pray for me. Many times these people need to know that someone cares enough to pray for their circumstance. I also think about all the people I passed when looking for my lost bag and wondering how many were hoping to be found by someone that day, through a short conversation or even a prayer.

Next time I lose something, I hope to remember to also look out for a person who is lost. I may even dare to ask God where he wants me to look for those who need to be found without having lost anything first. Maybe they might be in need of a spare shopping bag and my 99p bag will bless someone else.

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Responses

  1. What a lovely post. It’s true … we must be passing people who are lost all the time. You’ve encouraged me to pray about it, that God will open up opportunities to help them.


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