Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Lost Get Found!

Last Tuesday Tom and I experienced a day that for us will go down in parenting history.

summer morning haze

We love to go bike riding as a family. This summer on days when Tom isn't running in preparation for his upcoming marathon, he has been cross-training by riding his bike. It doesn't matter if he is running or riding, he usually has a large contingent of our children on bikes with him. Last Tuesday was a bike riding day for Tom, so he and six of the children set off to go ride on a nearby bicycle path. The older boys were mowing and I stayed home with the two littlest boys.

preparing to go on a family bike ride

At about 10:15 am I received a call from Tom. "Susan, we can't find Josiah!" My steady policeman husband sounded panicky and his voice was wavering. "Come right away and help search!" It was one of those phone calls that no parent ever wants to receive. He explained that somehow Josiah had become separated from the rest of the group as they rode their bikes. Tom had already been looking for 9-year-old Josiah for 45 minutes and had called the local police department to involve them in the search as well.

a recent picture of Josiah

I quickly explained to Daniel and Tim the need to jump into the car and leave. Without question they ran barefooted to the car and buckled up. The ten minute drive to the park where Tom was searching seemed like an eternity. I prayed both silently and aloud with the little boys as we drove. As I prayed I tried to banish from my mind the recent headline: "Attempted abduction of Leawood jogger." The woman mentioned in the newspaper article had been jogging in the park we were searching.

Just before I arrived at the park I called my parents and asked them to pray too. They not only prayed but also came over to help search.

The police officer near the entrance to the park informed me that they had several officers already patrolling the other entrances to the park by road, an officer on a motorcycle riding the bicycle path, and the police helicopter out.

All to no avail.

Tom and Caleb rode the heavily wooded trail searching and praying (the other children waited with me). There were a number of places on the path where the trail divided. Tom wasn't sure exactly at what point Josiah was separated from the group, so we weren't sure where to concentrate our search.

Tom would call me periodically and each time my cell phone rang, my heart would leap into my throat. "Did you find him yet?"


My parents had arrived and my father offered to drive to the parking lot quite a ways away where Tom and the children had parked the car and started to ride. Perhaps Josiah remembered how to get back there.

With each passing minute I prayed and tried not to think about the statistical chance (very low) of finding a child once an hour has passed. We were now up to 1 1/2 hours.

"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?"
Luke 15:4

My cell phone rang again. My father was on the phone. "He's here! We found him!"

"When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
"And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'
"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."
Luke 15:5-7

Josiah related to us that he stopped for a drink at a water fountain in the park where we were searching. When he looked up, everyone had ridden off and he couldn't see them anywhere. He didn't know if they had gone on from that point or if they turned around to head back.

Praise God, he was very level-headed and told us that he thought to himself: "I know the way back to our car. I'll just head back that way and if I don't catch up with them and pass them on the way, I'll just wait for them there." And that's exactly what he did!

Don't you know we keep many guardian angels very, very busy around here! (Did I tell you about two of the boys who decided to explore on our (very tall) roof last week as well? No? I'll need to save that story for another blog post! I think I need a nap....)

Interestingly enough, my father shared with me that he also was thinking about the exact same verses... the "rejoicing in heaven"... and it prompted him to consider that the intense joy he felt upon finding Josiah safe was probably only a small portion of the joy experienced in heaven over one sinner who repents.

Oh joy of joys! There is grace enough for all and the ground is level at the cross.

Rejoicing here,


  1. Oh thank the Lord! And what a sensible chap he is too. xx

  2. Oh my! I am so glad he was OK!!! What a scary ordeal...I am glad he did the right thing though!!! :)

  3. Praising the Lord he was found safe and sound. Losing a child even for a few minutes is the worst feeling in the world!!!!

  4. So, was he by the car the whole time? I'm so glad nothing bad happened to him. Thank you, God.

  5. You have brought me to tears! Rejoicing with you in God's goodness! I am so thankful and so happy for you. Praise be to God.

  6. Thanks Everybody for rejoicing with us! Hug the ones you love extra close today for me, ok?


  7. Oh my heart was pounding and my eyes reading extra fast trying to get to the end of the story. Sooo glad it had a happy ending!! Praise the Lord!!


  8. Hello Susan - I just found your blog and I have had a delightful time reading - thanks. :)
    I am so glad that Josiah is safe - I have boys around that age and these young lads have overworked guardian angels I think!
    The Lord has given him a level head - he acted very wisely.
    Nice to meet you.

  9. Oh Susan!!!! How intense for you all!! What a GREAT and GRACIOUS God we serve!! How WONDERFUL that this story turned out this way! What a vivid image of "one who is lost" being safely taken into the fold! How PRECIOUS each one of our children is! I am SO thankful that he was found! :)

    With Love to you my friend!
    Go take another nap! ;-)

  10. Oh my gracious. That is my greatest fear. I anxiously read your post and was literally in tears as you tied it to the parable of the lost sheep. So thankful that God blessed that child with the level head to go back to the car and that he was SAFE. And yes,how much greater is the rejoicing in Heaven when a sinner repents.

  11. As I read this knowing that Josiah was "found" I sat with a lump in my throat thinking of the feelings that you all must have had. Then as I read the scripture verses tears came. Thankful you found Josiah and reminded once again of our Heavenly Fathers great love for us!

  12. Thank the Lord!! I am so glad he was okay! I can feel that sickening feeling in my stomach, while crying out to our God for help. Haven't we all been there as mothers?! But that was such a LONG time!!
    Yes, it is beautiful to think of our Father rejoicing for His lost sheep.
    Much love,

  13. wow! My heart was in my throat as I read your story! So glad he was found unharmed! I LOVED the way you tied in the passage on the lost sheep! That scripture will never be skimmed over in a hurry again, will it??? Praising God for His protection and answered prayer!!!!!


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