I use the GPS on my phone all the time. For someone like me, who’s always on the move, life is so much easier with easy clear directions. But I also remember the sinking feeling of finding myself in an unfamiliar area without a map.
Once, while on a visit to my parents in Texas, I was driving my wife and kids to a lake where we hoped to spend a relaxing summer afternoon. I’d grown up in the area and had vague recollections of the route, but after half an hour on deserted back roads, I had to admit that I wasn’t sure we were going the right way. There were no signs along the road and no one to ask. The cows we passed weren’t much help either.
We finally got directions from an employee at what seemed like the only service station for miles around. “Yup,” he said. “Just stay on route 105 until you come to 390 West, then take 36 North, and you’ll come right to it.”
His coworker must have sensed my uneasiness. “Don’t worry,” he added, “this guy is really good at directions.” We thanked them and set off.
We found quickly 390 West, but another 30 minutes down that road later, we began to doubt again. Could he have said 390 East? I wanted to kick myself for not writing it down. How could we be sure we were even still on 390 if there were no more signs and no one to ask?
We were about to give up and turn around when we came to a sign indicating a crossroad ahead. Could it be …?
State Route 36! We turned north.
A bit further down the road we spotted two long-bearded country elders on a front porch, rocking the day away.
“The lake? Right down the road a piece. Can’t miss it!”
Soon we were splashing in cool, refreshing lake water, glad that we hadn’t given up when we thought we’d lost our way.
This struck me as a good analogy for life: When you feel lost, when you wonder if you’ve been going in the wrong direction for some time, when you find yourself in a mess, ask for help. “Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.”1
God is really good at directions.