Over the River and Through the Woods

Cardinal Directions

When I was a little girl, one of my fears revolved around getting lost amongst the northern Illinois farm fields on our weekend drives. Since I had no concept of cardinal directions it may as well have been the 1780s instead of the 1980s because we were leaving civilization and would probably end up traveling in circles forever until we were forced to live off the land. Of course, it was the 1980s, so living off the land meant one of the many Pizza Huts that grew wild in that part of Illinois.

Then I discovered maps. Looking back, I wish I could tell my younger self to ask my parents to show me a stinkin’ map so I would stop whining!

I still love maps. Even though my car now has a navigational system, I still keep a map in my car. Even though almost all new cars comes with navigational system, there are still many people that like maps. For good reason!

“I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was
once bewildered for about 3 days.”
– Daniel Boone

When you’re routing a trip that you want to take, maps provide a overview of the places you want to go. Even more, they show where roads start and where they end and how they intersect with other roads.

For example, when we would visit my grandparents in Pennsylvania, we would spend most of the time on I-80 through the flat cornfields of Indiana, the rolling hills of Ohio, and the tortuous mountains of Pennsylvania. How different from I-80 in Wyoming, a flat, barren drive through the Great Basin. It’s the same road, but in some ways, it’s not.

Roads connect us, and maps show us those connections and makes this great wide world a little bit more smaller and manageable.

A GPS also has its uses. When I’m in a city, I like the GPS because it tells me where and when to turn and if I miss a turn, it recalculates and gets me back on track with minimal minced oaths (from me). With a GPS, you concentrate on the next turn; in a city with traffic and stoplights and one-way streets, the next turn is the only one I’m concerned with. We only see as far ahead as we need to see.

Cardinal Rules

The Bible is like a map. We can open it and read it and see the connections and the intersections. The Bible is not just a bunch of nice stories of good people, it’s the account of a redemption of the human race, and that thread weaves through the Old and New Testaments.

If you’re bewildered about life, the Bible is the map that you need.

Admittedly, much of my bewilderment about life comes when I want to know the overall view of my life. That’s when God doesn’t give us a map, He gives us a GPS – God’s Plan System. He doesn’t show me the overview of my life like whose life will intersect with mine in friendship or marriage, or where the terrain will get rocky and rough. He tells me what the next step is going to be, and I have to trust Him that He knows the way.

“I once was lost, but now I’m found.”
– John Newton

He knows which route is best, is aware of all the slow spots and the detours and will route me through or around depending on what He wants me to learn. Of course, when I decide I want to ignore it and go my own way and find myself in a bad part of town, He gets me back to the right road. And He doesn’t have to “recalculate” because He has calculated every road I would take and knows which road I would take anyway.

I’m on the narrow way with the Way. No whining necessary!

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