Asking for Directions

On a trip to Kenya in 2005, our team of seven was hosted and guided by a family of six Americans who called this beautiful country their home. We spent some time in Nairobi at their house, worked with hundreds of missionary children and teenagers in Kijabe, met some long-distance runners in Nakuru and visited a safari park. It was an incredible trip with incredible people in an incredible place. There are images and experiences and stories that will hopefully never fade into the blurry past that so often happens with some adventures in my memory and lessons learned that could never be taught in any other classroom.

At one point in our journey, as we were driving from one city to the next and aiming for a specific destination, our swahili-fluent guide, the father of this family, pulled over to the side of the dusty road on which we were traveling across the country and started speaking with words none of us temporary visitors understood. Upon completing the conversation, he mentioned nochalantly to the other 12 people crammed into the modified Four Runner that we’d drive for a few kilometers, turn left and then Version 2see who was there to give us directions for the next step.

We had a destination in mind, assuming our guide, driver and trusted source of wisdom in this foreign land knew all the steps needed to get from here to there. But he didn’t.

Yet we had no unnecessary detours. We made no mistakes. And we got there quickly. Even though we never had more than one piece of information at a time.

I can’t help but wonder if our first-world, information-packed practice of acquiring complete directions before we begin a journey has unintentionally and subconsciously effected our approach to the Lord when seeking and following his directions for our lives? And not in a good way.

Looking at Scripture, it’s clear that God didn’t print out maps for people to study before they began their journey. Abraham was called to the desert, not knowing how his basic needs would be met. Joseph was stuck in prison and had no idea that he would be developed into one of the most powerful leaders in their known world. Mary was an engaged, virgin who was told not to worry that she was pregnant. As a teenager.

As Christians in 2013 with all of our [not bad!] technology, it’s easy to want to approach the infinite and marvelous God who created and is master of the universe in the same way that we approach road trips. Before taking the first step, we want to acquire all the necessary information to get from here to there. But we forget that if this incredible God who loves abundantly already knows the end of the story, it should be OK if he only tells us what we need to know one step at a time. We can ride in the passenger seat and trust that the next turn is all we need to know to get to where he ultimately wants to take us. And what an adventure it is!

 

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