Singer-songwriters are the poets of our culture. They use provocative language to explore the inner world of our souls and the outer edges of our experience. They help us enter mysteries, and often reveal the spiritual longings of our souls.
So last week, my Pandora Radio mix tossed out a song by an artist that I had never heard of. It was singer-songwriter James Morrison with his song “Undiscovered” It’s basically a love song, one of longing and hope that a relationship will finally come together. But one one five-word phrase has been running around in my head and heart from the moment I first heard it:
“I’m not lost; just undiscovered.”
Now I know this is not a song about spiritual matters. But this phrase is a fascinating way for Jesus’ people to hear the heart of far-from-God people.
It is true that they are spiritually lost. In other words, they are not where they are supposed to be—in a joyful, life-defining relationship with God, their Creator-King through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. Instead of life with Jesus as the blazing center of their life’s solar system, they create a world centered on their own pleasure, intellect and sense of the world. Instead of Jesus as the North Star by which every step of life from now into eternity is guided, they wander aimlessly towards a fearful eternal destiny, utterly separate from the true beauty, joy, wonder, and meaning of God. While they may be kind, moral, creative, engaging, heroic, humane, sacrificial, and successful people, they remain from God.
Lost for eternity. And they rarely know it.
Loved by God, with an eternal passion. They rarely know that, either
Now, we who are Jesus’ people are called to join the Good Shepherd in seeking for these lost ones. To make sure the lost know how precarious the state of their soul and how precious they are to God.
We can do that only because we were once lost and have been found. We were deathly alone in the universe until we came to know that our Creator had loved us to death so we could live.
Jesus came to “seek and save the lost”. He sends us to the far-from-God for the same reason He was sent to us by the heavenly Father: to spread to them an honest awareness of the reality of their lostness and a clear understanding of the depth of their “loved-ness”.
But for the most part, we Christians don’t exactly make a heart connection with the lost people around us. They often feel less pursued by our affection than chased by our morality. More used as a foothold to advance our agenda, than engaged in honest, face-to-face conversation. More targeted for church involvement than genuinely liked as a person, whether they ever attend our church stuff or not.
Why? Perhaps some of the problem is in the way we look at far-from-God people. Somewhere along the line, we started seeing lost people as “those people”. It’s not unlike the language of unconscious racists, who meld individuals into members of a faceless, stereotypical group. We have reduced our relationships to a battle of us vs. them, we vs. they — and “they” are always a little off, morally suspect, socially disruptive, etc…
So, now we’re back to James Morrison’s pregnant phrase. What if we thought of the lost people we are called to reach as undiscovered. How could that make a difference?
Consider that when something (or someone) is undiscovered…
+ there’s a promise of something wonderful just around the corner.
+ there’s something intriguing to explore, someone fascinating to know
+ there’s hope that transformational change is possible
+ there’s a dream of healing for a body, a soul, a family, a destiny
+ there are always unexpected twists along the way
+ there will be moments that require deep courage and bold faith
+ there’s an understanding that stubborn perseverance will be required
+ there’s indescribable joy when the undiscovered is finally uncovered.
Apply all of those to your most frustrating relationship with a far-from-God family member, friend or acquaintance. Yes, he or she may be spiritually lost, but they are also among those yet undiscovered by the gospel.
How does that change your attitude? Your prayers? Your conversations? Your patience? Your initiative? Your faith?
Join me in praying the Father will give us the heart to be soul explorers, seeking for the undiscovered in our world with Jesus’ gospel and the Spirit’s power.
Who do you know who is undiscovered? How could we pray with you about taking the next step towards Jesus with them this week?