I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
I have always loved maps. They speak to me of journey and destination and adventure. They remind me that there is always so much more to discover in this thing called life. I love the feel of moving my left index finger across the letter row and my right index finger down the numeric column until my fingertips just graze one other. At their intersection I discover the destination I seek.
We traveled a lot when I was a kid. Most of the time we traveled in the long Buick Estate Wagon with the wood paneled sides. Sometimes we were lucky enough to fly in one of the new jumbo jets. This was the era when air travel was rare and little girls who were lucky enough to fly wore dresses and hats and gloves to mark the momentous occasion. And if those little girls were very well-behaved, they would receive a shiny Pan AM Junior Clipper Stewardess Wings pin. I thrilled at my growing collection of Junior Stewardess Wings pins.
My mother collected maps and brochures from every place we visited, and from those she had in mind to visit someday, and organized them neatly in large brown envelopes. On lazy summer days I would sit on the floor in front of the enormous cabinet where she had stacked the brown paper envelopes, alphabetized by city or state, and dream. I would spill open the contents of the envelopes, one at a time, and dream about where we might be going next.
I still love maps. Those that hang framed on my walls serve more as reminders of where I’ve been than as guide posts to where I’m going. But whenever I inspect one of my antique maps up close, my heart begins to stir, and my mind begins to wonder, “When will I travel these roads again?”
And it strikes me that God doesn’t generally guide us with a road map.
Sure, there’s the pillar of cloud, the pillar of fire, and The Star. Those were pretty clear directional signs about which way to go! But three times hardly qualifies as a general pattern in scripture.
God’s guidance system seems to require a lot more walking by faith than walking by sight…and a road map!
I long for a map to tell me which path to take in life. I want to know with certainty that the decisions I make are the right decisions. I want to know that I can back myself out of a bad decision and reset my course if need be. I want to see and to know.
I want to trust in the road map.
How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust. (Ps 40:4)
And You whisper to me again, to trust in You and not look for the road map.
The Jesus follower is not a map follower. The Jesus follower is, well, a Jesus follower. The Jesus follower is one who waits for the Lord, one who rests in the Lord. And in the waiting, and in the resting, we commit our way to Him, even when the destination is still unknown.