Friday, November 30, 2012

All Who Wander

I came from an era when printed maps were offered free in every gas station.  This was back when fuel stops were called "service stations," because someone actually filled your tank for you, cleaned your windshield, and checked your oil and tire pressure, all for 27 cents a gallon.  The maps were folded crisply, until used, when they refused to yield to polite appearances like misbehaving toddlers. 

I also lived in a family that didn't consult maps at all.  We were not naturally directionally-gifted, just stubborn.  I can remember wandering for long periods of time, simply because it was beneath my father's dignity to stop and ask directions. And on more than one vacation, the seven of us would pile into the station wagon and head South with no particular destination in mind, no reservations, and no idea where we would land.  On one trip, after wandering for two days, we stumbled upon a small rather shabby motel in McAllen, Texas, so close to the tracks that the building shuddered every time a train passed.  A bargain at five bucks a night, it had a small pool surrounded by a chain link fence, and the weather was sunny and hot, so it fulfilled all my father could want for the three days we had left. 

How often I do the same, not for vacation, but in life?  I head out with only a vague idea in mind, no particular destination, thinking somehow perfect plans will be delivered miraculously on my doorstep by Federal Express, and not bothering to ask God for directions at all.  Or I fill my schedule to the brim with my agenda, thinking that, well, God can follow along.

I have found -- be it guidance for my work, or what begs to be done next, or even buying Christmas gifts for others -- to stop, drop and pray FIRST, not as a last resort.  I am always amazed at the huge amounts of time He saves me, my energies focused, and a million distracting rabbit-trails banished.  God guides me, not on MY path, but on His.  On His way, things fall into place the way He intended, sometimes in ways I never considered.  He implants thoughts into my head that surprise me by their freshness.   He opens my eyes to other routes invisible to me before.  He places people on my path, those connections and relationships which I call His divine appointments, many times in the most unexpected ways.  And so, there are no interruptions, no detours, no dead ends, and no wild goose chases on His map.  It may not be what I had in mind.  But His plans are always intentional, carefully designed, and dripping in purpose.

The most efficient and fruitful way from point A to point B is always His path, not mine.  And the first step is prayer and spending time with Him in His Word.  "I don't have time for that.  I am too busy."  Really?  I can't afford not to.  He more than blesses that time, the most important minutes of the day.  His path is always most direct.   And it may be something not even on your radar yet.

LORD, reveal Your way to me.  LORD, reveal Your day for me.

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.
                          Proverbs 16.3

(whatever you do, wherever you go)

Your Word is a lamp to my feet
     and a light to my path.
                           Psalm 119.105

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