A few years back, it was all the rage. People would show up to airports, backpacks in tow, and buy a ticket on the first available flight, no matter where it went. Some people got lucky and ended up in Hawaii, others not so much and ended up in Poughkeepsie. It was supposed to be exciting on some level. It offered a sense of adventure to people who, for the most part, spent five days a week in a cubicle, listening to elevator music and wondering where their life went awry.
The sense of adventure and adrenaline rush at the thought of going to Poughkeepsie notwithstanding, I like to know where I’m going and how to get there. Especially now, with children in tow, it’s hard to wing it. I can’t just stuff everyone in the car, spin a bottle, and start driving in the direction the bottle stops. Even a day trip takes planning and calculation, from how long we can be on the highway before the are-we-there-yet choir starts belting their tune to whether or not we can make it back home before nightfall.
Between someone with a map, a compass, and a destination in mind and someone who keeps driving because they saw a sign for Wall Drug and it sounded interesting, chances are the guy with the plan will get more done on a given day. Yes, I know, everyone’s got a GPS, but I’m old school, at least when imagining my rugged self. Who am I kidding? I’d get lost two towns over if I didn’t have that silly voice on my phone telling me where to turn. Nevertheless, the point is still valid.
The notion that God put us here to fend for ourselves, find our own way, get lost, and find the path only to get lost again would be bleak if it were true. Perhaps that’s why so many people meander about doing a spiritual version of walking in a circle for forty years because they don’t believe in God’s active presence in their lives. If His presence is not active and personal, there can be no direction; therefore, on your own you go, lugging your burdens, hoping the next step doesn’t put you off balance and cause you to stumble into the ditch.
One of God’s most encouraging and inspiring promises is that He will give those who trust Him guidance and direction. You will never be lost as long as you walk with God. In this land of confusion, that’s a promise worth clinging to. He will never lead you astray. In this world of deception, that’s a lifeline to cling to. The footsteps of those who trust in the Lord are sure and unafraid. They walk knowing that He directs their path, and wherever He leads is best.
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Another way of putting this passage, and one that will surely raise the ire of some, is to stop trusting your feelings, defer to Him in all things, and start trusting the Lord, and He will tell you where you need to go. Once He tells you where you need to go, go! Don’t dawdle, and don’t wait for better weather, He is directing your path, and the path isn’t going to walk itself.
That’s the thing, though. If we’d stop putting so much stock in our feelings and cease following men’s direction rather than God’s, the places we would go and the things we would see would be beyond anything we could imagine.
To illustrate how absurd the notion that feelings matter when it comes to spiritual issues is, imagine you had two planes waiting for you. They were identical in make, model, and year equally fueled up and ready to go. They sat on a tarmac side by side, the only difference between them being the pilots. One pilot has sworn to use his instruments to take off and land at a given destination, and the other has promised to go by his gut, his feelings, and his instincts. Which plane would you board? Which pilot would you feel safer with?
We’d all get on the plane with the pilot that promised to use his instruments. The problem is, once we get on that plane, we’d try to convince him that his instruments are wrong and our feelings are right because we’re living our truth, and if he won’t turn around and go where we tell him without a hint of protest, he’s just a hateful bigot.
Lord, lead us to heaven but take us the way we’ve marked it down on our map. Take us the way we want to go; let us take our time, see the sites, snap some selfies, and maybe even get off the path for a few nights to do something different. You’re Lord, but we’re in control. You’re Lord, but you must do what we tell you. Otherwise, we’ll find a different guide. One who will tell us what we want to hear and, for the right price, lead us wherever we tell him we want to go.
For most of us, it’s easy to trust in the Lord. If we’ve walked with Him for any time, we know He is trustworthy. Many have difficulty with the second part, the part about not leaning on their own understanding.
Instruments don’t lie; your feelings do. Instruments don’t lie, but your intuition sometimes does. When the two conflict, when your understanding and the guidance of the Lord differ, do not lean on your own understanding lest you crash into the side of a mountain.
There are various instruments God employs to guide and direct you. Your job is to be aware of them, focused on them, and brush aside all other distractions.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.