The First Place
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Psalm 34: 4-7 (NRSV)
When Webb Smith, from Georgia, was eight years old, he remembers helping his father search for his lost keys. As his frustration mounted, his father asked, "Why is it that whenever you lose something, it's always in the last place you look?" With a sly grin, he added, "Because once you find it, you stop looking." Webb thought this was a hilarious observation. From that moment forward, finding lost items became a game for Webb. His goal was to have the first place he looked be the last.
This approach is fine for trivial items such as shoes, sunglasses, or the remote control. But where do we look when we lose courage, hope or direction? Where do we look when we lose ourselves? In times of need, it's far too common to look for answers in all the wrong places. Seeking relief, we may turn to alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy behaviors, which never help us find anything good.
Scripture reminds us that in our most trying times, we can look to God first for help and solace. As our provider, God can restore, renew, and replenish us. Prayer allows us to seek God's counsel, and scripture allows us to rediscover God's endless love which can rebuild our broken spirits. At some point in life, we all experience significant loss. It's comforting to know exactly where to look to regain our strength and stability.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for being an ever-present force in our lives. Help us to remember that we can always seek you in times of need, in Jesus' name, amen.