Summary: Confusion sometimes stalks us. Comfort comes from Psalm 55. "Even while thousands are lined up against me, God hears it all...Pile your trouble on God’s shoulders, he’ll carry your load" (55:18,22).
Lost and Confused
Psalm 55:1-14 (12-13)
June 11, 2006
This is the second in a series of sermons about being lost. I would invite you this morning to remember a time when you were lost. I know you pretty well, and I don’t think that any of you have ever been lost on a desert island…at least no one has told me that. Still, I’m sure that you have all be lost to some extent or another over the years.
When Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel, I remember an interview she gave with one of the U.S. networks. She was lamenting the fact that Moses wandered around for forty years and finally settled in the one place in the Middle East that had no oil. She said,”If only he would have stopped and asked for directions.”
Perhaps you’ve been lost and haven’t stopped to ask for directions. How did it feel? How did you find your way back? What did the experience do for you?
I was appointed to the church in Shipshewana back in 1995. That was sort of like going home. My mother’s side of the family is all from that area, and many still live there. My great-grandfather, a veteran of the Civil War, was from Bristol. My mother was baptized in St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Goshen. I still have cousins who live in Millersburg.
My mother’s parents are buried in a cemetery just a little south of Middlebury, and she and my dad asked me one day if I would like to meet them there to put flowers on their graves. We hadn’t lived in that area very long and it was the first time I had visited their graves since their funerals and I didn’t know how to get there. My mom told me that all I needed to do was to go south of Middlebury on State Road 13 until I came to a house with a garage that had two white doors. Turn left, she said, and the cemetery is just a mile down the road.
Believe it or not, I found the place with no trouble at all, but if they ever replace that garage, I’ll be in trouble. Anyway, I needed gas on the way home. I didn’t have any cash in my pocket, just an Amoco credit card. I knew that there was an Amoco station in Topeka and thought that it wouldn’t be any trouble to cut cross-country. It should have only been six or seven miles. It shouldn’t have been that difficult.
But it took me about five minutes to get completely and totally lost. I had no idea where I was or even the direction I was going. Finally, after driving around until the little warning light on my gas gauge came on; I saw that I was coming into a town. I was relieved, but soon discovered that I had somehow made it back to Shipshewana.
To this day, I have no idea how I got there. The scary thing is that I crossed U.S. Highway 20 without knowing it. I’m really lucky that I didn’t become a hood ornament on a Mack Truck.
It’s not fun to be lost. It’s not fun to be in a place where you don’t know where you are or where you are going. If you are like me, you don’t like to be confused. I like it even less when others know I’m confused. When I was appointed to Waynedale UMC right out of seminary, I remember Harold Leininger, the senior pastor, telling me that I should never admit to anyone in the church that I was confused about something. What I’ve discovered over the years is that I’m not very good at hiding it when I’m confused, so I might as well admit it so that I can find the help I need to move on.
Confusion is something that stalks us most of our life. We seem to always be confused about something or other. It starts out when we are young. At every turn we ask our parents, “Why?” And we are never content with the answer we receive, which is usually “Because I said so.” Just a couple of weeks ago, Toni and I were on our way out to an appointment when Dominique asked me where we were going and why. Even at age 21, she wanted to know. I told her that there are some things that mothers and fathers don’t have to tell their children. And I left her with a very confused look on her face. Actually, that was sort of fun.
Sometimes, the things that confuse us are pretty trivial. I don’t understand why my stupid dog is so afraid of thunder. I am confused why my son thinks he needs another tattoo. After all these years, there are still things about having a wife that confused the heck out of me.