In the last post I said there’s a better means of navigating life’s challenges than by trying to know and follow all the relevant instructions in the Bible correctly. And there is!
I found this wisdom (at my first silent retreat) in a book by Henry Blackaby (et al) called Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God. In it he related a sort of personal-experience parable that helps show how Jesus Himself can be our direction-giver, our “road map,” and be far more reliable than our trying to follow mapped out guidance or multi-step directions by our own wits.
He told of how a local farmer had given him instructions to find his house. There were landmarks to note and turns to make in a long series. He finally did make it to the farmer’s house (to his near astonishment), but the next time he went to the farmer’s house, the farmer himself got into his car and told him where to turn at each moment he needed to do it. He didn’t give him more than one step at a time. He didn’t have to, because he was right there with Blackaby to guide him through each part of the journey. (And giving him further directions beyond that immediate step at the time would likely only have “muddied the waters,” and confused him.)
What Blackaby was talking about was surrendering your own mapped out plans and instead tuning in attentively to Christ throughout your journey—not asking for more than one step at a time, not needing to see the whole way to the end, but trusting him with the present turns to make or bypass.
This can be really hard for us who want to be in charge of every aspect of our own lives, who want to have it all lined up so neatly in our own heads before we proceed, who want, in fact, to see the end from the beginning. But it’s Christ whom we need to yield to as the One in Charge. It’s Christ who does already see from the beginning where we’re meant to arrive at journey’s end. The difference lies in trusting Him instead of putting our trust in our own wisdom, judgment, and “traveling abilities.”
Does this mean we should throw out the Bible? Certainly not. But without leaning on his guidance even to make our way through the scriptures, do we really think we can get it all right and make no mistakes?
I believe this moment-by-moment leading of Christ is what happened to me this past weekend. I had become unsure of my way, unsure I was doing the right thing, on the right path. The evident opinions of a couple different people who did not know the particulars of my situation or the exact path that I was on were leaving me feeling “wrong,” almost shamed, and I took this problem before the Lord. “Am I doing wrong?” I asked, earnestly. “Am I headed in the wrong direction? Please let me know.”
A random look in my Bible didn’t give me any concrete answer. Nor did turning on the radio and hearing the message someone was giving on a Christian station. But as I just continued through my day with Christ, a whole series of amazing things began to happen–which in sum total thoroughly affirmed that I was “traveling” rightly. When I sat back afterward and reviewed it all, I was just plain awed at what God had lined up for me that would not have happened on a different trajectory.
Yes, Jesus is the road map, He is the way. He is not only the most reliable GPS, but also the most awe-evoking! If you haven’t experienced this sort of thing, try it: try putting your reliance on Him, and keeping close to Him, and see where He leads you, what He causes to transpire. It might change your whole approach to life.