Tuesday, June 17, 2008
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I think most women have learned that men are never lost - or so men think. Some man's driving from Chicago to LA and his wife asks, "Honey, why did we just enter Pennsylvania?" Is he lost? No, he's exploring a new scenic route. Listen, I have to be realistic enough to admit that I can get lost - especially if it's an area I'm unfamiliar with - especially if it depends on my sense of direction, which is like no sense at all. But my wife on the other hand, oh, she has a great farm girl's sense of direction - plus I have learned over the years that she's great with a map. She's very good at evaluating our options and picking the roads that will get us there the fastest. So, on a typical trip you'd see me driving and my wife with the atlas in her lap, telling me the road or exit that's next. I don't need to see the map! I have a great navigator!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Navigator and the Map."
Our word for today from the Word of God Psalm 37:3-5 gives some wonderful advice for the choices and challenges that you may have ahead of you right now - maybe for a road that is pretty new to you. You've got questions about what to do, where to go, when, how. Well, listen to God's words, "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this."
As you look at what's ahead, you wish you had a detailed map. You don't. And even if you do, it is subject to all kinds of variables beyond your control. There's nothing in these verses about trusting in the plan, in the map. You don't have a map, but you do have a navigator. And He has the map. Just like me and my wife on a trip in new territory. I don't have to see the map. I just need to trust the navigator - to pay attention to the Navigator.
Our job as Jesus' followers: trust in the Lord (not in the map), delight yourself in the Lord (not in the map), commit your way to the Lord. Just as I ask my wife, "What's next, honey?" You and I just stay close to our Lord and say, "What's next, Lord? Where's the next step?" My wife doesn't usually tell me the next five turns we're going to need to take; all I really need is to know the next step. That's how your divine Navigator wants to take you through this next phase of the journey, showing you one next step or one turn at a time.
In changing seasons or uncertain seasons, we tend to focus on God's will - that perfect cosmic plan that seems like such a massive mystery. But the focus isn't supposed to be on the plan, but on the Planner - not on the map, but the Navigator. It's easy for God to show you what He wants you to do; it's hard to get you to do what He wants. So these times of choice and challenge are designed to draw you deeper into Him, to motivate you to spend greater amounts of time in God's Word and in God's presence, to get you to release your schemes and dreams so He can lead you into His, to sensitize you to recognize and obey those inner promptings of His Holy Spirit.
Maybe you're on some bumpy road right now because you started handling the map and choosing the roads. None of us is designed to be our own navigator. When we are, we inevitably get lost. The map is God's business, so don't worry about it. Your job is to listen very carefully to your Lord - the Navigator. He'll show you the road you were made for, one obedience at a time.