Easy answer, when the destination’s clear and territory’s well-explored. We all welcome those turn-by-turn directions from the GPS lady. I love it when Bertha (that’s what we call her) tells me which lane and how far to the next exit. Unless you’re trying to earn an orienteering merit badge, you likely won’t choose to navigate to a new spot armed only with your trusty Boy Scout compass.
Sometimes, though, Bertha’s not available. Perhaps the terrain isn’t clearly understood or the destination isn’t quite so well-defined. Much of the time, in the parts of life that matter, we travel dimly lit, uncharted territory.
We love maps. We love them so much that we use them even when they don’t work.
Simplistic maps for complex terrain. Five easy steps to conquer addiction. A pill for weight loss. Ten minute magic abs. Dr. Somebody’s herbal cancer cure. We’re tempted to adopt these nutty notions because we want a map, ANY map, to get us through difficult circumstances.
Yesterday’s maps for today’s territory. I want it to be the way it used to be. It was easier back then. So I’ll just use the old map and pretend the routes haven’t changed. Even when I know the map isn’t accurate and the good old days weren’t all that good.
A map for the wrong region. This route worked really well over there…why not use it in this new place? Never mind the roads and circumstances are completely different.
Imagine Bertha telling us to drive in a straight line, just because it’s easier than following the winding road and making a few turns.
On the FREEDOM TOUR we do a lot of route planning. We don’t have Bertha so we give everyone an electronic map and a written list of directions. Hopefully, everything goes according to plan.
We’ve also learned, from difficult experience, that it doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes the map’s wrong and the worst thing to do is keep following it, just because it’s there. When you’re lost and the map’s worthless, you need some true north principles.
On our tour, those are things like: Never ride alone. Always have your phone and the number of the SAG vehicle. When you know you’re off track, stop!
That’s the compass, the true north that doesn’t change regardless of circumstance or location.
Jesus is True North. He didn’t provide a list of route-specific, turn-by-turn directions. Instead He offers eternal principles to always guide our turns, regardless of circumstance.
Then He walks with us while we figure it out.
Next time: Questions for a wandering soul