Most of us embark on a journey with a clear destination in mind.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed taking our three children on family vacations. With few exceptions, summer featured a trip to the beach and/or a visit to a family member and/or an adventure in the mountains. We were all very excited to load up our trusty mini-van and hit the road. The repeated refrain from the back seat, of course, was “Are we there yet?”
Back in the days before GPS systems or Google maps, Dan had to depend on me and a folded up map to get where we wanted to go. It was always a little dicey. At least once on each trip there was tension surrounding the navigating. I have inherited the well distributed and much laughed about “wrong way gene” in my family.
Now, it’s so much easier. I can just whip out my phone, enter our destination, and driving directions are given in such detail that I know exactly how many feet it will be until the next turn. All that’s left to do is follow instructions.
Have you noticed that God’s maps are not at all like google maps?
I’m glad they’re not.
God’s destinations for us are more about who we become on the journey and not so much where we go. Maybe he does have an end location in minds for each of us, but he builds our faith as we attempt to find it.
God gave us his moral law, his Son, the “image of the invisible God,” and his Spirit to guide us. If we follow his moral law, stay close to Jesus and in tune with his Spirit, we will make it to our destination. But every individual encounters a unique path. Some people take a direct and straight course; others take a more circuitous route.
God’s guidance seems frustratingly limited to the next step, and even that is often at the last minute. He doesn’t usually tell us the number of feet or even miles before we’ll make a necessary change in our route. Nor does he nicely lay out upcoming lefts and rights. Just the next step. I’d love to see the whole plan.
My husband and I have been on a roundabout journey toward our goals in this life, and I am starting to see at least one purpose of his one-step-at-a-time guidance. We needed, and still need, to change before we are ready for the work that is ahead. He has been faithful to provide for us while we figure it out. The God-map has taught us to trust and love him much more than a google-maps version of directions would have.
I think God delights in his children pursuing their destinations in creative, potentially long and indirect ways, for that is how we learn to hear his voice. It’s far more intimate that following a random voice on a phone.
Are we there yet?