I’m back! I’m back! For the past two weeks I have been lost in a miasma of forms and figures. As my sister’s conservator, I am required, each year, to submit a documented report of all financial activity down to the penny. I am convinced that all government forms are purposefully incomprehensible and confusing.
I sit for hours looking at the same column of figures trying to decide where they fit on this form, and wondering if anyone will ever really look at it. Or is it just one of those “by the book” things that must be done. I AM LOST!
Talking about being lost—I remember my first days in Brussels, Belgium all those years ago. I had always lived in smaller towns. Now I was in a city of two million people. There was no rhyme or reason to the layout of the city, and the traffic was nuts. I was almost afraid to drive, but I had an apartment mate, another single woman missionary. Ginny had been there for a number of years, so surely she knew her way around. Didn’t she?
On Saturday, we decided to do some shopping in the city center. The “Bon Marche” and “Innovation” were two large department stores I was longing to explore. Arriving at city center, we drove up and down and around the narrow cobblestone streets until we found a parking place. After hours of looking and oohing and aahing and buying, arms loaded with our purchases, we headed back to the car. I had no idea where it was, so I just followed Ginny. After forty-five minutes of wandering up one street and down another, I finally voiced my doubt.
“You have no idea where the car is,” I exclaimed.
Leaning against a brick wall, my friend replied, “Now don’t get upset. Pretty soon I’ll see something familiar.”
WE WERE LOST!
When friends from the States came to visit, we took them to see the “Cheese Market in Alkmar, in the Netherlands. Alkmar is sometimes called “The Venice of the North.” Canals crisscross the city running down the middle of the streets. We found a parking place by one of those canals. Before leaving the car, I suggested we write down the name of the street on which we were parked. I had learned my lesson.
Ginny whipped out a pad and wrote, and we headed toward the Cheese Market. After several enjoyable hours, it was time to start back to Brussels.
“Where are we parked,” I asked my friend.
I stared at the paper she handed me. On it, Ginny had written “Voetpad,” translated “Footpath.” Every street had a footpath.
WE WERE LOST!
At another time, a friend suggested, “Let’s just go around this block and then head north. That will be faster.”
“No,” I objected.
Sometimes you could wind up twenty miles from home by going around a block in Brussels. I preferred the familiar way.
It is hard to get lost these days. We have so many helps: maps, charts, compasses, global positioning systems and smart phones. I read somewhere that “We have an entire generation of men who will never know what it is to refuse to ask for directions.”
However, even Siri and Google are sometimes wrong.
Getting lost, being lost or totally lost are popular expressions for someone in a desperate situation. Insecurity is once again one of the defining features of our age. We are raising a generation, many of whom have no purpose, no direction and no hope for the future. One does not have to be lost spatially, as I often was in Brussels, to be lost in life.
I am grateful that many years ago, with God’s help, I charted a course designed to reach a particular destination. I WAS LOST until, at God’s bidding, I stepped onto the “footpath of life.” This course encompasses every area of my life. That is the beauty of it!
Each morning I read the guide book for the path I follow. I talk to my guide, and He talks to me. As long as I follow His directions, I stay on course headed for that wondrous destination. Are there ever any problems, disappointments, or difficulties? Of course! We still live in an imperfect world.
Truth is. I don’t like being lost. I hate the uncertainty and the wasted time.
In Jeremiah 6:16, The Lord admonishes us. “Stand in the old ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls…”
In Psalm 16:11, David declares his faith in the God he follows. “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
We must learn to pray with the Psalmist David, in Psalms 25:4. “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.”
There need be no fear of ever being lost while following Him.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!