God’s life map often passes through scenery I had never anticipated. There have been numerous inconvenient side junkets.

My husband and I have opposite styles of navigation.  He likes to meander off the beaten path and enjoy the scenery.  For him, “short-cut” means “long-cut”.  My approach to driving is that point A to point B is to be navigated as efficiently and fast as possible.  It is a family joke that the fastest carpool route was always with Mom at the wheel.


Too bad that my style of navigation isn’t God’s style.  I have discovered that God’s life map often passes through scenery I had never anticipated. There have been numerous inconvenient side junkets.  I had always imagined that God’s map for my life would consist of a delightful marriage to a minister with an adoring congregation, being a mother to at least four loving children, living in a beautiful brick house, having numerous grandchildren, and developing into a well-respected teacher.  Well, I got the first one right:  marriage to a minister. 


I had not planned for the off-road detours:  losing dear friends to terminal diseases, moving 14 times in our marriage, coping with years of strain in finances, not having any daughters to go shopping with, and letting go of dreams.  God apparently didn’t Google the same directions that I did. 


God’s adventures have sometimes ventured into frightening, dark, and lonely forays.  We have felt like lost travelers longing for a brightly lit exit sign to a route in which everything makes sense.  Intermittently we have found solace in fellow travelers who have navigated the same backroads; those who have not given up when the fuel gauge is blinking red empty; those who have not cursed God in the process.  We have been restored by the fellow passengers who have shared the pain and pointed to Jesus.


I cannot neglect that God’s excursions into the wild also have been filled with light.  Those times when I have had the privilege of directing children’s performances and realized that without God, none of this astoundingly joyous moment would have been possible.  The occasions when I have been able to share the bottomless truth of God’s Word with a friend and finally seen the “aha!” light blink on in his/her life.  The junctures of my life when I have felt downtrodden and spit out and God has ridden to the rescue in ways I could not ever have imagined.  Indeed, God has shone His light, but seldom when I would have timed the turning on of the switch. 


I have a friend who is dealing with the possibility of yet another return of cancer. She reminds me in no uncertain terms that for believers in the wonderful, risen Christ, this world is not our home.  We are not the navigators in the pilot seat; our Father has commanded us to be the obedient crew in the back of the plane.  God calls us the adventurers of Hebrews 11. We identify with Abraham, who was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. We are the explorers who Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. 


God in His grace sometimes supplies street lights, but the planning of the journey is His alone.  He can direct my path through the mud, the weeds, and sometimes he chooses the well maintained highway. Rarely does point A go directly and easily to point B.  All He asks is that I obediently stay in His arms and look at the delightful scenery He plants along the way. Lord, help me to trust.