It is clear and without ambiguity. It gives direction to all who travel the highway, letting them know where they’re headed. It gives guidance.
Life doesn’t always give us those clear markers; the big green signs that declare to us, without question, where we are and where we are headed.
Every Thursday night my husband and I meet with a group of people who are asking some of the big questions of life. Questions like “Why are we here?” “What is our purpose?” “Who is Jesus?” “If I am created by God, what does that mean?” “How am I supposed to live?” The conversation is lively and engaging. But it is also hard. This past week the question was “How do I receive guidance”.
It was this I thought about as I made my way on Friday morning to Freeport, Maine. I had never been to Freeport, but it didn’t matter. The markers were clear and there was no question that I was heading the right way. As long as I followed the highway and the Google Map I had printed on and 8 by 11 sheet of paper, I would make it to where I was going on time. And within minutes I reached that big green sign that said “All Points North” and I continued on my way.
Guidance in life is rarely as clear as large green signs on highways. There are many times when I wish there were giant signs that said “All Points North”. While there are occasions where it is clear what decision I am to make, there are other times when I feel nothing, I have no direction.
Those are the times when the compass is absent, there is no map and Heaven is silent. The green sign, large with white lettering paid for by a state transportation authority, means nothing. While it may get me to Freeport, its purpose is limited to one highway, one trip, one conference.
Years ago while living in Cairo we came to a point where there was no sign. We had simply circumstantial evidence that we needed to make a move. What that would look like and how it would be accomplished was impossible to predict, impossible to see clearly. Four years earlier we had been at another decision-making point and it was clear what we were supposed to do. The second time it was like someone put a blindfold on us for a child’s birthday party, spun us around three times and said “Go pin the tail on the donkey”. We were blindfolded and without our bearings. We stepped out and slowly by slowly made our way to the path.
These two times couldn’t have been more different, yet they were both times when we were seeking guidance; where we prayed for guidance; where we begged for guidance. In one situation we had a big green sign that declared “All points north”, in the other – nothing but feelings.
It’s in retrospect that we can see signs. Not the big green one, but small mile markers that when driving fast you miss altogether. They are there, but small and hard to notice until you’ve arrived at your destination. It is then that we realize that there was safety at every mile, “proceed forward” at every hill and comfort at every turn and as unlikely as it seemed at the time, that was our guidance.
How are you guided and who do you look to for guidance? Have there been points and times where there is no map but you knew you were supposed to move forward? I would love to hear how others are guided in life.