Hello, Sisters in Christ! I’ve missed my serious writing for this blog! It seems that whenever God is reforming me, I’m sent out into the wilderness to stumble around, crouching in fear of the enemy’s attacks, and at a total loss for words. Which means – no writing.
Into the Wilderness
My latest journey into the wilderness came as God decided my family needed to leave our church – and church family – and find a new church “home.” Oh, the agony! If you’ve ever been there, you know what I mean! We did not go out rejoicing. In fact, we dragged our feet and moaned and groaned through it all. And when we finally removed ourselves from our comfort zone, we were sent wandering – searching for a new place to rest.
So I wandered, looking for the right way to go to get out of this wilderness. I searched for an elusive signpost pointing me in the right direction.
This wilderness was a dry land at first. I longed for a downpour of refreshing rain, but the most I got is a sprinkle here and there. My hopes soared, and then I came back to a place of resignation and knowledge that I would survive, and I would receive enough hydration to keep me alive, but I would still wander and wait …
My poor family had to contend with a sack of emotions as I wrestled with my “map.” No GPS allowed! I longed for an audible voice to tell me exactly where to go, and yet I found that the only trustworthy source was my “paper map.”
I’ve used this map as a guide so many times. It’s creased and wrinkled and coffee- and tear-stained. I’ve highlighted routes I already know, written notes in the margins, and circled my favorite locations.
I needed to keep studying this map! It’s never failed to help me find my way out of the wilderness!
Rough Roads Ahead
I guess I’ve had a rough time of it lately because God has been doing a good work in me. God has been faithful in His promise to form (and reform) me according to His purposes. Becoming more spiritually mature means allowing God to send me – wherever – and change my mind about what I think is right and true. It’s so humbling to have to admit that what I professed as truth for years was only a shadow of what God is revealing to me now. It wasn’t all necessarily “wrong,” but it wasn’t complete. It was like looking at my map upside-down. The picture is still the same, I just wasn’t seeing it correctly. It looked like one thing to me for years, but after turning it around and studying it more closely, I can see the lines and the patterns that I’d been trying to follow actually point in a different direction. When I study the parts where the folded crease is rubbed a little raw, I realize I’ve been missing a very important part of the picture.
Sure, we can wander through life, pointed in the right direction, and we can hope to get to our proper location by luck. We can even choose to follow others down whatever paths they’re walking. At least then we have friends to keep us company along the way.
Walk This Way
I know that God has laid out a route specific to me. He has planted people along the way … some to feed me, some He intends for me to help, some He wants me to share my map with, and others who have missing parts of my map – parts I didn’t even know were missing! Sometimes He brings me to a person who is scared. He lets me take their hand and draw them gently through the dark until we come out on the other side, into glorious sunshine! Sometimes He blesses me by bringing me to a person who is meant to travel long and far with me … someone who will stick with me as we go through a dry desert, hungry and dirty, longing for rain. Someone who knows just when to say, “Buck up! We’ll get through this!”
Friends, the bible was written for us. It’s truly a useful guide for navigating life, just like a map. Maps aren’t designed for just one person or group. They’re designed so anyone can use them to find their way from one spot to another. Think of your Bible as your map. Study it so you know where you’re headed and how to get there. Learn it – memorize it – so you can point others in the right direction when they get lost. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it, and remember that, like a GPS, the audible voices of humans might lead you astray, but your trusty paper map will never steer you wrong.
Grace and peace, Friends.