Knowing Where You’re Going

I am terrible with directions. I am terrible with remembering where I’ve been or how I got there. Jim teases me that he’s surprised I can get to work and back without getting lost!

Yesterday I went to Norton Shores to visit a long-time friend. She has lived in the same home for 11 years, and I have driven there once or twice every year – so at least 15 times. I never would attempt that trip without Sandy’s directions pulled from my file, “Directions to Places!”

There are several routes I can take to get to Sandy’s.  I like the rural, meandering back roads. My family members would rather go the highway! I get to see things like buffalo (!), goats, horses (regular and mini), cows, acres of snow-covered fields – some with corn bristle peeking through. This trip I saw a bunch of ducks (What do you call a bunch of ducks? A flock, a brace, a paddling, a raft, a team, a dopping). OK, I saw a paddling of ducks as I drove through the lazy town of Odessa. The road there runs right along the lake, and the ducks were in the few feet of water where the ice had melted near shore. That’s the LAST place I would be, but they seemed quite content. I saw a mighty stallion posing on a small rise. Maybe he was an old farm horse, but he was posing nonetheless.

When I plan this trip, I leave very early in the morning, so the first half hour or so, I’m driving while it’s dark. I love driving on north Parma Road where its tree-lined stair-step turns slow me down. I love  that it’s still dark when I see the welcoming small-town of Eaton Rapids with its main street’s trees still lit with blueish white “Christmas” lights. Where else, but on back roads are you going to see signs like Whippi Dip opens March 18?

All the while I am enjoying mosey-ing along, the GPS lady is directing me to the highway (She’s amazingly patient with me as I continually ignore her!). Along the route I notice many signs. They warn me be alert (deer crossing), change course (M-50 isn’t a straight shot to I-96), slow down (speed limit 35) or inform (Charlotte 9 miles). The M50 signs posted periodically along the road are comforting reminders that I’m on the right road.

God, in the Bible, gives us “directional signs” on how to live – the 10 Commandments are major road signs. Jesus saying, “I am the way,” is another. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. In everything give thanks. Put on the armor of God. Take care of the widows, the orphans, the poor. The beatitudes. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. His “road signs” are for our benefit – to keep us alert and living in His plan.

I started thinking of my GPS as a “satanic voice” trying to get me off course. She pleasantly said, “turn right in 1/4 mile,” when I knew I wanted to go straight. She was rather persistent in the beginning of the trip telling me at every intersection to do something I was sure I didn’t want to do. I KNEW where I was going, and I didn’t want to listen to her. Interestingly, once I got past her point of no-return, there was very little instruction … I am lulled into thinking I am safe from her derailing intentions.

Once I got on the interstate highway, the satellite must get blocked, because the GPS went into a tailspin. It kept repeating, “Re-routing, stay in I-96 for 33 miles. Re-Routing stay on I-96 for 1 mile.” The screen was flashing and I wondered, “Is this an attempt to confuse me and get me flustered, weak?” I said out loud, “I’m glad I’m not depending on YOU!” (Get behind me, Satan!)

Sometimes Satan’s attacks will be obvious temptations, “Go this way, not that way.” Sometimes he is subtle, I could forget to be wary when I didn’t hear from him for much of my trip. Sometimes his attacks come in confusion or chaos. The message is clear: Be alert always, and KNOW where you are going!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

PS I don’t think my GPS is satanic; I depend on it more than you know – I also like written directions or a map!

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