August 25, 2011
"Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24
Joseph Schexnider has been found.
May I tell you his story? In 1984, Joseph Schexnider had been charged with having the possession of a stolen car. That was the beginning of his difficulties, but Schexnider compounded his problems by missing his scheduled court appearance. When the police showed up at his home to arrest him, that's when Joseph Schexnider decided to disappear.
He did a good job. He disappeared for 27 years. During that time nobody, not his mother, nor his family knew where he had gone.
But now Joseph Schexnider has been found, sort of.
As best as anyone can figure out, Schexnider decided to finance his disappearance by robbing the local bank. In all probability that was his intention when he slid down the bank's unused chimney.
I ought to say that differently. Schexnider started to slide down the chimney. He made it part way and then he got stuck -- permanently stuck.
Joseph Schexnider's mother never reported him missing because she knew the police were after her boy. The family never reported him missing because Schexnider had a habit of leaving town without telling them where he was going, or how long he would be gone.
Authorities surmise that 27 years ago Joseph Schexnider, stuck in a bank's chimney, died of dehydration. Knowing that nobody knew where he was, that nobody was looking for him, it had to be a long, a lonely way to die.
Of course, there was one Person who knew where Schexnider was. I wonder if during those long hours, were his thoughts ever turned to the Lord? Did he ask for help? Did he pray for forgiveness? Did he receive comfort from the knowledge the Savior wanted to be with him? The Lord alone knows the answers to those questions.
Now I doubt that any of us have ever felt as alone as Joseph Schexnider did. Even so, almost all of us have times when we feel alone. Most of us have experienced days, weeks and months when we felt nobody cared about us, nobody was looking for us, nobody would notice if we just disappeared.
If you have ever experienced these feelings, I hope you know there is no place where we can go that is too hidden for the Lord not to know where we are.
Even more, the Lord who knows, also cares. He who gave His Son to carry our sins and save our souls from eternal damnation always cares.
There is comfort in that knowledge we have a Lord and Savior who will always care -- no matter where we are, or in what situation we get stuck.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for keeping tabs on me, I give thanks. For caring about where I am and what happens to me, I give thanks. For sending Your Son to save my soul, I shall always be grateful. Now I pray You will keep me safe. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries