I spoke at a church in Coquille this last weekend. My 14-year-old granddaughter went with me. We traveled over to Bandon on Friday and to a cute little boutique motel. I used my GPS to get to all my destinations. There were times when I thought, and said, “I don’t think this is right.” Or, “this is taking us in the completely opposite direction.” Or, “what on earth!”
This happened leaving I-5 on Friday and it happened the next day from our motel to the church. The GPS would take us off main roads and onto twisting, curvy, not-very-well-kept roads. At one point my granddaughter said “Well, at least it's a beautiful drive." And she was right. It was lovely. Although the road was rough at times, it was beautiful.
I took the opportunity to tell her about paper maps that we would keep in the glove box. She was amused.
Both times, directions to the motel and directions to the church, we got where we needed to go. It was almost surprising to me. It did not feel right much of the time, but I decided to trust my Google maps, and it paid off.
It caused me to think about following Jesus. Perhaps there have been times in your life, certainly mine, where it didn’t seem like we were going in the right direction. Perhaps it made no sense whatsoever. But we kept following Jesus by the end of the day, or within a week, or a month, or a year, it suddenly became clear.
I love The Message version of 1 Peter 1:18-21
“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.”
Think about the trip Jesus took, leaving heaven; leaving His Father’s side; leaving the adoration of all the heavenly angels! Jesus left all of that, made the trip to earth, for you and for me. We may never fully grasp what that required. The very least we can do is trust Him. He has our very best interest in mind. Trust Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct (or make smooth or straight) your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Now, it would not be a complete story regarding GPS if I didn’t also acknowledge that the opposite can be true.
A family member had passed away and his service was at the Eagle Point National Cemetery. I had never been there, so I put the address in my GPS and off we went. It took us out of town, and I began to wonder, but kept going. Turn here; turn there, pull in here; you have arrived at your destination.
I stared. My car was sitting in front of a double farm gate with nothing but cows and pasture as far as the eye could see. I clearly was not at my destination.
I backed out of that middle-of-no-where location and made my way back to the nearest gas station. Pulling in, I asked the attendant if he could help direct me to the cemetery. He gave me a few turn-by-turn instructions and I found it with no issues.
Sometimes in life we think we are doing the right thing. We think we are headed in the right direction. But sometimes we are wrong.
Psalm 119:105 tells us that Jesus’ word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Let’s make sure we are always in tune with God’s word and His instruction.
Ephesians chapter 6 tells us to put on the whole armor of God that we may stand against the “wiles of the devil”.
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the dark powers of this world. Against spiritual hosts of wickedness.
We are told to put about our waist: truth. We are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness. We are told to put on our feet the gospel of peace. We are told to take hold of the shield of faith. We are to put on the helmet of salvation and in our other hand we are to hold the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The word of God: The Bible.
Like a tree planted near the water, we need to sink our roots deep into the word of God and drink. By doing so we will follow His leading. We will not be misled. We will not travel down the road of destruction, but instead we will travel the road that leads to everlasting life.
“…just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him…” Colossians 2:6-7 ESV