Moving in the Correct Direction
When it comes to retracing a new route, some of us are directionally challenged. In the days before MapQuest and GPS, many drivers (notoriously male), would doggedly insist they knew the way, only to end up three expressways and umpteen miles past the right exit. Today, equipped with a GPS system, travelers can hit the road with expert guidance and instant navigational advice. Those who have traveled spiritual routes before us have also left behind key navigational points to follow on the journey to righteous living.
I read this recently. I have no idea who wrote it, but I can attest to the truth of much of it. Let me explain.
It didn’t take me long to learn that my wife has a much better sense of direction than I do. I think I must daydream or something when I’m driving. I sometimes find myself going in the wrong direction, or I forget how to get somewhere I’ve either driven to a couple of times or only been to as a passenger. Once, in New Jersey, I had to call my wife in Mississippi to ask her how to get to my parents’ home. Thank heavens for cell phones!
I will not admit to driving out of my way because I didn’t ask directions. My ego doesn’t work that way. I will admit to going into a gas station or convenience store, asking directions, then having difficulty remembering them when I get back to my vehicle. GPS has indeed been a blessing.
So I’ve learned to trust my wife’s judgment when it comes to getting somewhere. She’s not infallible, but she’s far better than I am.
“Those who have traveled spiritual routes before us have also left behind key navigational points to follow…” We don’t have to travel an unmarked road in our spiritual lives. The signposts are there. We just have to observe them.
Isaiah was writing to a stubborn and rebellious people. That’s what had gotten them into trouble in the first place. They thought they knew the correct way. They had everything figured out. Don’t tell them to look for exit signs or mile markers. They knew where they were going. Stop to ask for directions? Not them! Waste of time.
And now they were hopelessly lost, seemingly abandoned by God, not knowing which way to turn. Where were the signposts? Which was the correct road?
Isaiah knew God had not completely abandoned them. God had let them get lost since they were so bent on doing just that. But like a good driving instructor, God was waiting for them to realize they had made a mistake and ask for help getting back on the right road. God was willing to be their GPS. Instead of taking the wheel, God would sit in the seat behind them, saying, “This is the way, walk in it” if they started to make a wrong turn.
One of the major signposts for our correction is the Bible. We make a serious mistake when we pick sound byte portions of Scripture and tie our spiritual life to them. We are almost sure to go astray, substituting our wisdom for God’s—and that will get us lost. Instead, we need to read Scripture in large portions—and to read all of Scripture. The Bible is the record of God’s interaction with humanity. Like any good road map it will give us an overall picture of where we’re going in addition to knowing which road we are on.
As I’ve learned to trust my wife’s sense of direction so I need to trust the directions of those who have gone before me spiritually. They know the way. They’ve been through the rough spots. They’ve climbed the hills. They’ve found the path through the dark valleys. The best part is that they want to help us, to guide us. All we have to do is listen to them and follow their directions. It may not make the road easy, but they will guide us home safely.