Posted in Devotion

My Navigator

My friend and I did quite a bit of traveling this weekend. I drove and she navigated; we know what we do best. As we traveled to new locations or were forced to detour, I pondered how much our journeys mirror my journey with God.

A man’s steps are from the Lord ; how then can man understand his way?
Proverbs 20:24 ESV

Know who the navigator is

On our journey, my friend navigated, and I drove mainly because she doesn’t drive well at night and it was my car. For this trip those were our roles, but this doesn’t mean we couldn’t do the other role just as well. I can read a map, and she can drive a car. For this trip, though, she was the navigator. She told me which roads to take because she held the map.

Similarly, in my own life I have to recognize that God is my navigator. He calls the shots because he holds the master plan. The difference is, though, that God and I can’t switch places. He could do both roles, but I’m only suited to drive through his directions.

The driver has to listen

Since my friend was the navigator, I had to listen. At one point, I had an inkling that I didn’t remember taking this part of the road before, but she didn’t tell me to turn. I kept driving. A bit later, she realized that she’d turned off the GPS too soon, so she redirected us. I had to listen. At another point we were stopped by maintenance men and told to find another route because of a huge wreck ahead. Google maps didn’t comprehend what we wanted, so I really had to trust that she knew how to detour us.

When I’m driving through life, God gives me one direction at a time. I have to listen and trust that he knows the best route. When I go off course for a bit, I have to trust that he knows how to redirect me. When I hit a road block, I have to listen to his guidance on whether to go through it or how to reroute. I have to listen.

As I travel through life, I sometimes want to take control, but I have to remember that the vehicle I’m driving in reality is worth much more and more fragile than a replaceable car. God has only given me one life and one body. My best option in order to avoid a wreck is to listen to my Navigator.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV

Posted in Life

Roxie’s Reminder

My first car was named Roxie after a man who used to come into the restaurant where I waitressed. His last name was Rex, and the advice he gave me lingers in my mind as I drive to visit family and friends this Christmas season.

Drive for yourself and for everyone else.

This man hadn’t had a wreck in all of his years of driving, so his advice on driving seems trustworthy. Of course it’s impossible to completely predict how others will drive, but the idea is to watch other cars. 

This is not saying that his advice kept me accident free (cough, July’s dumb moment that cost me Roxie’s life), but it has probably kept me more cautious in other moments. As you drive this holiday and beyond, friends, be cautious. Pay attention to your driving as well as what others around you are doing. 

Thanks Mr. Rex. 

Posted in Life

Slicing through the Fog

This morning as I was driving to work, the fog was so thick that my little headlights did very little to help me see. I drove slowly since I could only see about a car length’s space in front of me due to the fog and the fact that it is still dark at 7:15. I know the road fairly well because I drive it several times a day, but it felt a bit foreign today with all of the fog. When I got out to the main road though it got a little easier to see because there were other cars casting their headlights through the fog.

Jesus says that we are supposed to be the light of the world. The trouble is that the world is dark and foggy just like my drive to work this morning. Even though I may know the path I’m supposed to be taking because God has shown it to me, it can sometimes be a bit tricky to stay on the path when I’m the only light shining through the fog and darkness. That’s why it’s important to find other “lights” on the same path that can help brighten the road. God emphasizes Christian fellowship all throughout the Bible so that we have help when the path is especially dark and foggy.

Posted in Bible Study

Heed the Signs

The drive back from my brother’s graduation was frustrating. In my mind, taking the Interstate means I can go between 70 and 75 mph. Today though, my route involved numerous sections of construction, which forced me to slow down to 55 and sometimes come to a complete halt. But before this becomes a rant session, let me get to my point.

It would have been very easy to ignore the 55 mph signs because I did not see any cops nearby and the other cars were going at whatever speed they wished. Only my conscience and integrity kept me hovering right below 60 mph. And maybe my paranoia of getting pulled over. If I had not heeded the sign, there could be so many negative consequences, such as tickets (double fine, eek!), wrecks, deaths, etc. It is true that the probability of those things happening is slim, but it wasn’t worth the risk.

The sign was there for a reason.

Recently, a note in my Bible told a story about a (fictional) shark sign at a beach. People get frustrated when they go to the beach and see a sign that says they shouldn’t swim because of potential sharks in the water. They might be angry at the sign itself for being there, when in reality the sign is only a warning and protection from something more dangerous. If they swam in the waters anyway, it is true that they might not encounter sharks at all, but they could also very well come across sharks. The sharks could feel threatened and attack, maiming or killing the swimmers who were simply mad at the sign.

The sign was there for a reason.

Similarly, many non-Christ followers and some Christ followers will complain that the law and rules laid out in the Bible are too constricting in our modern world. This is not a new complaint. Paul dealt with the same thing with the Christians in Rome to whom Romans is addressed. Some complained about the law being unimportant since Christ came, but Paul argues that the law is useful to show him his sin. (Romans 7: 7-8).

In the previous two stories the signs showed me and the beach goers the potential evils in the respective situation: wrecks, tickets, or death, and sharks. The law, written in the Old Testament and lived by Christ in the New Testament, shows us the evil of sin. Paul points out that he would have never have known that coveting is wrong if the law did not show him. The law is there because sin came into existence with Adam and Eve. The law is there to protect us from the consequence of sin, which is eternal death and separation from God.

The problem with this is that sin is so powerful that it warped the image of the law in our minds. Humans for a long time have seen it as something that constricts us from doing what is fun and pleasurable. Humans also sometimes see the law as something that dooms us to death and separation from God if we can’t live the law to a T (Romans 7:13). As Paul points out, the problem is not with the law, which is perfect and protects us if we follow it. The problem is that we are sinful beings. Adam and Eve proved that. They had one restrictive law: don’t eat the fruit on that tree. But they did. Sin is powerful and it rules us if we let it.

Thankfully, we have the laws of the Old and New Testament as a form of protection from sin. What is even better than that is that we have Christ/Holy Spirit/God also as our greatest Protection from sin (Romans 7:24-25). With His power, we are able to resist the power of sin. Thank God!

So now our job is to heed the signs to avoid the messes we get ourselves into when we sin. We can rely on God’s power and strength in order to keep the laws.

The signs (laws) are there for a reason.