This passage is very familiar because it is the first recording of words spoken by Jesus. His statement, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” is made in reply to his mother who in exasperation from searching for him questioned his behavior. In today’s terms he would be telling her that she really didn’t need to search for him because she should know where he would be: going about his father’s business.
Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake us, but we can stray or wander away from him. The question is, “Can we ever really lose Jesus to where we need to search for him so that we can get back?” If we were to ask The Lord, his answer would be very similar to the reply made to his mother. He would probably tell us, “You don’t need to search for me. You will find me where you left me.”
When people stray from The Lord, it is usually around an event or circumstance. It may result from being hurt in losing a loved one. It could have resulted from a sickness in themselves or someone that they love greatly. They may have strayed because they ran after an empty opportunity offered by the world. Trust in others may have been shattered. In any event, people usually stray in response to life and its circumstances.
How do these people get back? The answer: they need to return to where they left The Lord. If they accused him of not caring, then they need to return to him, confess their error and exercise faith that God does care. If they were lured by the trinkets of the world, they need to return, confess loving another and set their affection on things above. If they felt abandoned, they need to cease believing that lie and instead tell God that they will believe the promises of his word. When a person is away from God they strongly believe the lies of the enemy just as much as we believe the promises of God and the only answer is repentance. That is to change their mind from what they believe or think to something different. Abraham experienced this when he went back to Bethel. It was there that he built an altar and met with God and it was there that he returned to God after coming out of Egypt.
This is a very difficult thing to accomplish and the longer somebody is away from The Lord the more difficult the task will be. However with God nothing shall be impossible. If you have wandered away, come back to God. You will find him at your Bethel. If you have a son, daughter or loved one who has wandered away, continue praying for them. God wants them to come back to him much more than you do.