Lost With Directions
Have you ever lost your way while trying to follow the directions to a friend’s home, a business across town, or destination you were attempting to reach by following the instructions you had written down earlier? Now the directives seem muddled and confusing while you are negotiating the roads, highways, and signs while reinterpreting your own handwriting and garbled information. What made perfect sense earlier is now foreign language at best!
This happened to me one time; okay more than once. On one occasion I was trying to find a house in what we call “the boonies,” or another word for the country. I kept missing the turns and was trying to make sense of my notes while driving. Before too long, I had gone deep in the backwoods of Arkansas not knowing which way was even out. Thankfully my cell phone and frequent calls to others helped me negotiate my way through the woods and to my desired end.
I realized: sometimes directions just don’t make sense.
While in college my younger sister asked her older, wiser, more mature sisters to join her for an entertaining weekend in Dallas. The trip was simple; it was a fairly straight shot from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas.
It should have been trouble-free; we had driven that route many times before. We didn’t need a map we informed our younger less wise sibling. Besides, it was an easy drive. The problem was we were so busy talking and having fun, that we missed the obvious turn. As the hours passed, I kept commenting to my older sister, “This doesn’t seem right. This road sure seems desolate.” A few minutes later the highway suddenly ended on a country gravel road. We were lost! All our wisdom vanished when we realized we needed a map after all.
Clueless as to where we were and not wanting to backtrack the previous hours’ worth of driving, we pressed on. Prayer and a little dumb luck caused us to cross paths with a highway patrol officer on the backroads of nowhere deep in Oklahoma territory. He kindly led us back to civilization and helped the lost find their way.
Now I know: maps are important to have on hand.
I had a friend making a trip from Arkansas to South Carolina while in college. With her best friend along, she started driving the highways and byways which was a dangerous venture for her and all who are “directionally challenged” in life. The trip started just fine, she had a color-coded map and clearly marked directions along with her notes on hand, and a friend to help. She followed the signs, the highways, the directions.
But four hours later, she realized she’d erred profoundly. Not anywhere close to the desired destination, somehow, she had negotiated a wrong turn. They found they were right back in Arkansas where the trip had begun! They had been lost all along and didn’t even know it. They had simply circled the state, not anywhere close to the Carolinas.
This is evidence: sometimes maps can be hard to read, hard to interpret.
It was a family vacation: the two carloads of family members promised to meet at the seaside resort in Maine. With directions, a printed out on-line map, and a navigation system built into each automobile, the hour and a half long drive from Boston to Maine would be an easy trip.
The young adults negotiated their way just fine. The parents stayed lost for hours when their navigation system kept redirecting them to dead-end streets, incorrect turns, and wrong roads. Numerous phone calls to the resort only added to the confusion and frustration. Finally, with the help of a lot of strangers, the way was found and the lost checked into the resort a bit flustered and behind schedule.
This is living proof: even navigation systems fail from time-to-time. And smartphones are not always smart.
On another adventure, a group of women loaded the Suburban with their luggage, bags, and beach gear for a week-long vacation on the beaches of Destin, Florida. Armed with maps, internet sources, phones, and five brilliant women, they were well-equipped for the journey. But in the last few minutes before departure, one husband decided to share his savvy traveling advice to help the women save time on their trip by redirecting them on a shortcut.
Hours into the excursion the women gradually realized the maps didn’t show the isolated regions and roads deep in the Delta area and the cell phones didn’t have reception. Adding to the confusion was that many of the roads didn’t even have markers or signs. So instead of saving an hour’s drive off the trip, the women were lost on the back country roads with no sense of direction and adding more time on the trip than was originally planned. So much for saving some time! Now desperate to find their way back or any way out of the Delta they began to pray.
Three farmers plowing their fields had stopped momentarily to discuss the task at hand, or maybe they stopped for just a break. The women, knowing these men were saviors to the lost, pulled alongside the farmers to ask for help and directions. I wonder at times if we are still the talk of those farmers when we appeared out of nowhere.
Now I know: shortcuts don’t always save you time.
Lost; it happens to us all even with the best laid plans, even with directions, maps, navigation systems, and smartphones. More often than not, we all think we have life figured out too. We think we know where we are going and have clearly written out goals and plans like the instructions to a destination. But life has a way of muddling directions. Truth be told, we all need help; we all need a few saviors to lead and point us to the right way once again.
I discovered along life’s road: it can be easy to get lost!
Thankfully, we have a Savior to call on any time anywhere and in any place. He will always help the lost find their way. His Word is our map, His Holy Spirit is our navigation system. And when things get confusing, He sends a few angels along life’s pathway to help us out.
I know life can get very confusing at times. I know that at times you lose your way, lose your direction, lose your purpose, or sense of destiny. But beloved, you are never lost with Me. Life has taken you on many detours or to places you never expected to go. Life has landed you on the backroads of trials where you feel lost, confused, and alone. But as you cry out to Me, I will lead and guide you to safety: sometimes with the help of another or even with an angel sent by Me. I am Your guide through every trial and every road you find life takes you on. And though natural means or people may fail you, I will always help you. My Word is your map; My Holy Spirit is your navigator. And even though you feel lost, I am always with you. Always. My map, the Word, and My guide, the Holy Spirit, will never fail you. I am always rescuing, helping, and leading the lost. Call out to Me.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)