I have developed an interesting relationship with the GPS navigating system now available to everyone through our smart phones. Just for fun, I gave my navigator a name – Jill. And as our world becomes more complicated, I have made use of this new system more than I care to admit. Jill and I have had some adventures.
I have never been a huge fan of driving places that are unknown to me. In fact, given my own preference, I would just as soon stay within a five mile radius of my house rather than travel to new areas. However, developments in ministry have led me to venture beyond this five mile radius into territory unfamiliar to me. I recall a time just recently when I had to make a delivery in the rural area. For some reason I decided to go at night but was not anticipating the single lane road to be so dark. I carefully watched the brightly colored path laid out before me on my GPS and listened intently to Jill’s voice. I was so thankful that she gave me warning after warning about turns to make and distances to travel. She would say: “in point five miles turn right at intersection” and “in point two miles destination approaching on the left.” Honestly, I would have completely missed it in the dark had she not told me where to turn.
And that wasn’t the only time I had to rely on Jill to get me where I was going. There was another instance when I had to drive out in the country. It was daytime but the roads were unmarked and very thick with vegetation. There were no addresses whatsoever to gauge where I was. But Jill’s reassuring voice kept telling me “continue point seven miles then turn right.” It was such a relief when I heard her provide confident directions as I approached the house. I had to go down a dirt road and ended up at a farm with no mailbox, house address or anything to confirm that I was in the right place. But Jill was sure so I knocked on the door; and, go figure, it was the right place.
As I drove home from that particular visit, I began to think about how grateful I was for this available navigation system. I also began to think about the new spiritual navigation system I was given a few years ago in a relationship with Jesus. Perhaps you can relate to some of these scenarios. I remember a time in my life when everything seemed so dark that I had nothing but fear. In that darkness it was so difficult to find any purpose or meaning to life. But when Jesus came in and I could hear His tender, guiding voice saying to me “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” (Mk 5:36) I felt the freeway of fear suddenly become a pathway of peace. Or maybe you are standing at a crossroads right now and have no idea what decision you should make. Should I quit my job? Should I start a new relationship? Should I move? In my past I would be at a crossroads and just do whatever felt right. Unfortunately, it was usually wrong! With Jesus however, whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isa 30:21)
If you are at a place in your life right now where you are questioning whether or not you are following God’s will, you aren’t alone. Jesus comforts His disciples as He comforts us with these words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” (John 14:1) I was a wanderer before I met Jesus and I really didn’t even know it. My wilderness had become so familiar to me that it was my safe five mile radius which I had no desire to leave. As I go on new adventures with my GPS navigator Jill, I have seen the most amazing sunsets out in the open space. I have had the greatest encounters with new people. I have gone beyond my usual borders because I have learned to rely on Jill. The more adventures we take, the more I trust her to get me where I need to be.
It is the same with the spiritual adventures I have had with Jesus. Unlike Jill, Jesus never makes mistakes. He is personal. He is powerful and He is amazing. As He guides me in pushing the borders of my safe spiritual five mile radius, I have grown to trust Him more and more. I have built up a foundation of reliance on Jesus. Think about your own adventures with Him. Where has He taken you spiritually that you never would have gone on your own? Are you willing to witness to that neighbor down the street? Do you pray out loud with friends in need? Do you give more away than is comfortable for you? Is He the first one you run to when circumstances are out of your control?
Sure, I could have remained in the five mile spiritual radius that was comfortable for me; but I would have missed the amazing sunrise along the way, the comforting peace of the truth and the incredible purpose of life. Jill is great and I appreciate her guidance. My foundation of reliance, however, is built on nothing less than Jesus. There are maps and google directions that can get me where I need to go when driving. In my spiritual travels, however, I can’t get anywhere without Jesus and His perfect Word and neither can you. Jesus says to us “I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me!” (John 14:6)