That last post may have left you staggering. The amount of deception and wrong steering that we may face in any day–from purposeful deceivers, from misled people, from our own self-deceptions, or from just faulty information–can seem so daunting that you might want just to sit on the sideline and not. do. anything. for fear of misstepping. 

Such paralysis (which I can be quite prone to myself) is not the answer. With or without perfect discernment, failing to get up and move positively through the life God gave us deserves the warning I got from another one of those fortune cookie messages. This one made me laugh out loud after I smoothed it out and read,

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there!”

I laughed because I know myself. I laughed because it was so convicting.

But how can one make one’s way through this deceptive world, this difficult thing called life, and not proceed into outright disaster?

Well, there are road maps. And navigating without one can be very daunting. As I found out just this month on my journey to my latest retreat, at a new and unfamiliar location. I even exclaimed amid my tense superhighway driving, “Dear God, I need a road map! Oh, how I wish I had a road map!”

The Google directions I’d gotten had looked so easy. Just drive up the nearest highway for fifteen minutes, get on the superhighway, and follow it for 168 miles. A few short back roads after that and I’d be there.

Yes, it seemed so easy, till I started up the on ramp and saw all the mobs of tractor-trailers, car-carriers, tandem-haulers, with a few SUVs and fewer still smaller vehicles (like mine) sprinkled here and there—and saw the speed limit sign: 70 miles per hour! Which meant this was the minimum speed almost everyone would be driving…

Now maybe you’re young and used to this. But I’m neither! And to realize that I’d have to continue this kind of travel for 168 miles (on sleep deficit) was, well, almost shocking! But I felt like I’d gotten onto a gerbil wheel and just had to keep going. And going. And going.

There were rest stops. If you want to call them that. (I’ll not get into it.) But I knew nowhere else to go than on that challenging long-haul, high-speed, high-tension route.

We used to have road maps. If only I had one now! I lamented, and resolved that if I survived this trip, I’d go right out and obtain at least one (which I haven’t done yet). With an actual hard copy map, you can see the big picture. You can see the variety of routes, good and bad. You can map out your own preferences. And if you run into difficulties, delays, or hindrances, you can reconsult your map and plan an alternative. But without a map, not a chance!

After I did actually arrive at the retreat camp, and later discovered I could get wifi, I wasted some of my “silent solitude” trying to use Google Maps to plan an alternative way home. I wanted to use that superhighway for part of the route, then get off and take less intense roadways (because the “avoid highways” option almost tripled my driving time, which my eyes just can’t do, and would get me back after dark, which night driving my eyes can’t do well either). But Google kept dumping me back onto the superhighway. Utterly frustrating! Till I had Big Brother G plan two separate segments; the first a trip on the super to a named destination, the second from that destination to “home” on lesser roadways.

But a roadmap would have been easier. And more helpful.

Well, God does give us a road map. You know what that is. The Bible. It’s not just a tome full of erudite sayings and insightful stories about people throughout time. It’s loaded with practical directions, which, if followed, will get you safely where you need to go.

Yep. Have a road map. And use it.

However, there’s an even better way.

Next time…