“…whether you turn to the right or the the left, you ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
Recently I had to attend a work conference that was in a city a few hours south of my home town. I’ve traveled to this city on many occasions and tend to get lost every time. Knowing I would be doing a lot of traveling during my three day stay, I planned ahead and fully relied on my phone’s map app. Even though it took me a different route each day of my commute, surprisingly, I never once got lost. I did however yell at it and tell it to “shut up” on one occasion when it was insistent upon me turning left through 8 lanes of heavy traffic with icy road conditions. It did not like my decision to turn right and then safely turn around to the proper direction when traffic allowed me to do so. HA! HA!
My favorite feature of this app is the notification it gives you of how long you will travel on each road before having to turn onto a new road. It’s not just one notification either. You could travel on one road or highway for fifty miles (or 80 kilometers) and receive several notifications that you are approaching your next turn, lane change, etc. It even gives you warnings about detours and road construction before you’re near any of them. It’s definitely been a useful tool for me for many traveling experiences since owning this specific series of smart phone. I’ve even personalized it by giving it a male Australian voice and nicknaming it Jarryd (after Australian rugby player, Jarryd Hayne.) So yes, when I “yelled” at it, I actually said, “Shut up Jarryd, trust me, I know what I’m doing!” LOL
Navigating life can be just as confusing and challenging as driving through a big city. You’re apt to get lost a time or two. For the directionally challenged like me, you may get lost over and over again. This can lead to feeling like you’re reliving the same journey or spending your life walking in circles. Been there. Done that. My entire 30’s felt like I was on a hamster wheel running a marathon that led absolutely nowhere and left me feeling defeated and completely worn out.
Did you know there’s a life GPS? His name is God and His map is the Bible. In fact, I’m feeling so creative today I think GPS should really stand for God’s Placement of Situations. Is life not merely a series of situations? How many times have you heard sayings like, “She was at the right place at the right time?” or “He was at the wrong place at the wrong time?” Funny, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say, “She was at the wrong place at the right time” or “He was at the right place at the wrong time” though. Have you?
God’s GPS doesn’t work like iMaps, Google Maps or even Garmin. God definitely uses the Holy Spirit to warn us when we’re going in the wrong direction or about to make a poor decision. However, God’s direction doesn’t always instruct us on how long we will be on a certain path or in a certain situation before He changes our circumstances, delivers us from the struggle we are enduring or even before He advises us on a major decision we are seeking His wisdom on. In fact, there are times when people believe they are walking in the direction God told them to go and everything in their life seems to be going completely wrong. In times like these, it’s human nature to question if we even understood God’s leading or if we took a wrong turn somewhere, right?
Joseph is a prime example of someone who could question God’s leading. God told him he would be a leader over even his family some day. He traveled through abandonment, slavery and false imprisonment before that ever happened (Genesis chapters 37-47). Daniel followed God’s direction and ended up in a lions’ den. On another occasion, Daniel fasted for 21 days before an archangel showed up with a response to his prayer. The archangel admitted the delay was due to spiritual warfare (Daniel chapter 10). From Elijah, to David, and to Paul, the Old and New Testaments are full of examples of God’s direction leading to questionable circumstances.
Often times, people get a word from the Lord, respond with an obedient heart and willing spirit and then nothing happens. I’ve read numerous devotionals and stories of how God spoke to certain individuals, they complied with His direction and then waited sometimes years for the results of their obedience. This is similar to driving through a detour that seems endless, isn’t it? God doesn’t always make the directions clear and He doesn’t always give us forewarning to obstacles or detours we may face. He also doesn’t give us a time frame as to when we will reach our destination. When there appears to be a delay as to what He told us would happen and when it actually does happen, we can feel like we’re wandering aimlessly or even hopelessly lost.
That’s where relying fully on His word comes in to play. The enemy will plant doubts in our minds. Impatience may take over and pressure us to give up or go in another direction. We may even try to speed up the process and interfere with God’s actual timing. No matter what, I firmly believe God will remain faithful in His word. If you’ve received a word from the Lord, if you’ve especially taken an action in obeying this specific word and are experiencing a detour, trust in Him, remain faithful to His direction and believe His timing is always perfect. While you’re waiting and wandering, stand on these two passages:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV)
“…At the right time, I the Lord, will make it happen.” Isaiah 60:22 (NLT)
Lastly, remember this, if God places you in a situation, He will guide and direct you through it.