A recent novel by Madeleine L'Engle is entitled A Severed Wasp. If you're addressing young people or some other audience with
strong stomachs, the title, which comes from one of George Orwell's essays, offers a graphic image of human
lostness. Orwell describes a wasp that "was sucking jam on my plate and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his
meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the
dreadful thing that had happened to him." The wasp and people without Christ have much in common. Severed from their souls,
but greedy and unaware, people continue to consume life's sweetness. Only when it's time to fly away will they gasp their
We were on our annual Christmas trek to Chicago. Each year we brought our family to spend time with Grandpa and Grandma and
visit the museums. This year we decided to finish our Christmas shopping at suburban Woodfield Mall. In the midst of all the fun
and excitement, one of us noticed that little three-and-a-half- year-old Matthew was gone. Terror immediately struck our hearts.
We had heard the horror stories: little children kidnapped in malls, rushed to a rest room, donned in different clothes and
altered hairstyle, and then swiftly smuggled out, never to be seen again...We split up, each taking an assigned location. Mine
was the parking lot. I'll never forget that night--kicking through the newly fallen snow, calling out his name at the top of
my lungs. I felt like an abject fool, yet my concern for his safety outweighed all other feelings.
Unsuccessful, I trudged back to our meeting point. My wife, Martie, had not found him,
nor had my mother. And then my dad appeared, holding little Matthew by the hand. Our hearts leapt for joy. Interestingly
enough, Matthew was untraumatized. He hadn't been crying. To him, there had been no problem. I asked my father where he had
found him. "The candy counter," he replied. "You should have
seen him. His eyes came just about as high as the candy. He held his little hands
behind his back and moved his head back and forth, surveying all the
luscious options." Matthew didn't look lost. He didn't know he was lost. He was oblivious to the
phenomenal danger he was in. This is a candy-counter culture, where people who don't look lost and don't know they're lost live
Joseph M. Stowell, Moody Monthly, December,
1989, p. 4.