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  • Amber

God is Not Lost

The English language is complicated. There are so many words with double meanings and many words that mean the same thing, not to mention what colloquial meanings get added to words within different cultures. (Did you know biweekly means both twice a week and once every other week?)


The trickiness of language often affects how translations are done and how we understand it, but sometimes our own words can get turned around into meaning something that isn’t correct. This has happened all the time in the English language, so it’s no surprise that we run into this issue when talking about faith.


As you may have guessed from the title of this post, we’re looking at the words lost and, perhaps more importantly, found. These words are used all over the place in different ways when talking about faith. ‘Finding Jesus’ is such a common phrase most of us have heard it in some fashion. It’s familiar enough that some of us may have an image come to mind of the type of person who would say it.


The problem with ‘finding Jesus’ is that it implies that Jesus needs finding, he’s lost. That for some reason he’s hiding away, and you have to go looking under things or far away in order find him. This gives Jesus a very passive role, and almost an uncaring one, where he’s always in the same place, waiting to be found. But, if someone you loved was lost, would you not go looking for them? Would you simply sit around and wait for them to find you?

There are good examples for the usage of lost and found. In Amazing Grace, we get the phrase ‘I once was lost, but now am found’, and this is the type of being lost and finding we want to keep in mind when speaking about God and Jesus. We are the lost. Lost to our desires, our thoughts, lost in sin. But because God loves us, he is out there looking for us, and He will find us.


Now, English does a bit of a disservice to some nuance to be had in this discussion, because choosing to look is very important when it comes to God. If we aren’t looking for Him, it’s entirely possible to miss Them. Sometimes you simply don’t notice things that are already there, even when you are looking. Have you even been looking for something, only to realize it had been in plain sight the whole time? The object wasn’t lost, you simply didn’t see it right in front of you.


Sometimes, we don’t want to be found. There are obvious examples of folks who choose to avoid God for whatever reason, but there are far simpler examples. How often have you said (or thought) ‘Oh, I shouldn’t say that in church’? As if being in the church is the only place God could ever find out you had done something you shouldn’t. God is everywhere, He knows if you said or thought those things whether you’re in the church or not. God is everywhere, everywhere is holy – if we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.


There’s a phenomenon called frequency illusion. The basic concept is that once you learn about something, such as a new word, you suddenly start to see it all the time, everywhere. However, the reality is that whatever thing you are noticing isn’t actually appearing more in the world, you are simply noticing it now because you are aware of it.


I think this happens, in a sense, when we realize that God is everywhere. Obviously, it’s more than an illusion or a confirmation bias, but when we open our eyes to noticing God, we can see that They are in everything. As the Imam Mohammed Baqir said, “Show me where God is not. I will show you where he is.”


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