Then, when no response came, she rose from the bench said again, “Lilly?”
Surrounded by shoe boxes, the mom turned in a circle, scanning the perimeter. With alarm filling her voice, she said, “Lilly! Lilly, where are you?!”
Not seeing her daughter, the mother’s voice rose to full volume–caring not whether she caused a disruption. “Lilly! Lilly!!” she called out in desperation and panic.
My friend quickly left the shoe aisle and joined the frantic mother. Along with several store workers, they spread out and scanned the store, looking for little four-year-old Lilly.
Eventually they found her several departments away. A desperate mom was reunited with her wandering preschooler. All was well.
The strangest part of the encounter, however (according to my friend), was the way other shoppers reacted.
Here was a mother, obviously experiencing sheer panic. Her voice was loud and shrill–an odd contrast to the store’s quiet background music. But most of the other shoppers just continued walking casually by, scanning the racks and tables, as if nothing was happening. They didn’t care enough to even glance up!
Their complete lack of empathy was baffling. And a bit disturbing. Like eating a sandwich beside someone who’s having a seizure. Or playing a game on your phone next to a tragic accident scene.
Those of us who are Christians have people all around us who are very, very lost. Sometime it’s someone dear to us, who is wandering away from Jesus, from their faith, and from the Church. Which is more appropriate–to react like Lilly’s mother? Or the cavalier shoppers? To urgently go after the one we love, or to ignore the problem, and get on with swimsuit shopping?
I’m not suggesting that we purposefully make a scene in public. I am suggesting we increase our level of urgency about people who are lost–maybe even to the point of not caring if we make a scene. There might be a time that God uses our shrill voice against background music! Or perhaps God will ask us to join somebody else, as they go after a ‘wanderer’.
What can we do this summer, to point people–either those who are dear to us, or those who are dear to someone else–to Jesus? How can we go after someone who has wandered away, or is lost? Summer is a time when we often have more time with family and friends, we cross paths with people we don’t often see, and we perhaps have a break in the schedule. Let’s redeem the sunny summer moments, and push back the darkness!
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth, and someone should bring that person back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of death.” (James 5:19-20)