I've always loved maps and directions. As a child I would be navigator on our summer road trips. I'd be all settled in the back seat of our station-wagon with those old fold out maps monitoring our progress and predicting arrival times. Maps make me happy; they give me joy. There's a certain pleasure calculating the number of miles before the next exit and then, right on schedule, seeing the sign appear around the bend in the road. Having a trustworthy guide brings me a confidence and peace that produces joy.
I have come to treasure the Bible in much the same way that I treasure maps. My experience is that when I trust God's word and stick to the plan then the map proves to be true and gets me to the specified destination. There may be times when I encounter annoying traffic or an unexpected detour and even get slowed down by an accident, but I have learned that the map is accurate and can be trusted.
One problem I do experience is that sometimes maps and the Bible can be confusing, even to the most trained and skilled navigator. Sometimes I just get lost in all those tiny signs and numbers. There's the occasional road that goes by more than one name. From time to time I confuse north with east or west with south. It can get tricky! In addition to being confusing, there are so many distractions on this journey that cause me to take my eye off the directions and before I know it nothing looks familiar. Every now and then I get lost in the scenery or my mind just wanders away and when I regain focus that dreaded sense of being off course sets in. As careful as we are we sometimes get lost.
I really get annoyed when I get lost. It's an unnecessary waste of time. I especially get annoyed when I'm leading others. It's a blow to my ego. What must they be thinking of me? But we all do it, don’t we? We make a wrong turn. We read the map wrong. We lose focus and drive past the exit. On one road trip I actually found myself going south on an interstate when I was supposed to be going north. It took me 10-15 minutes before I figured it out! That was annoying!
I love the GPS's we have today, and one thing I love about them is that when you make a wrong turn you get this helpful yet humbling message - recalculating. I think it is amazing that something up there in the sky can see I've made a wrong turn and so quickly get me back on the right road. It gives me relief to know that not all is lost; knowing that the wrong turn is correctable. I've wasted some time, but the destination is still in my sites.
The Bible itself acknowledges that we all make wrong turns and we do make our journey a little more complicated when we do, but there is always hope. God has an amazing knack of getting us back on the right track. He doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t send us down dead-end roads. God is a God who recalculates for us and, with a little effort, we can find ourselves back on track.
We're all headed somewhere, and I'm glad to know there's a map-maker out there who not only guides me to my destination but also has the patience to recalculate for me when I get lost. Having a trustworthy guide brings me a confidence and peace that produces joy.