This past weekend, I up and went off on a 12-hour roadtrip on short notice. I decided Thursday morning what a crazy amazing idea it was, (by Thursday night I thought I was just insane), and left early Friday morning. I was able to borrow a sleeping bag and tent on short notice, threw some stuff in a bag, and left with pretty much only my iPhone and google maps app to guide me.
Now I was given a general direction (north, to New Hampshire), and new how to make my first steps. I had driven north through Baltimore dozens of times and considered it pretty familiar, safe, easy to get to, not much chance of getting lost... sort of a comfort zone if you will.
As I started to get out of familiar territory I found I needed to rely on my iPhone more and more to get me where I needed to be. I looked at the long list of unfamiliar directions it provided me, and I promptly ignored it. Even with my iPhone, I still managed to screw up and get off track (I refuse to count how many u-turns I had made that weekend). When I got through Maryland, I thought it would be safer to just stick to I-95 because I knew it would get me there eventually - so I took the scenic route through Philly instead of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I completely ignored my iPhone and detoured. Despite this, it was willing and able to tell me exactly where I was, and how to get to New Hampshire from there. Often it involved a completely different set of directions than when I started: when I detoured through Philly, my updated directions had me go through back roads in Pennsylvania to get to the New Jersey Turnpike. I had trouble again not much later, and ended up stuck in New York - and still my iPhone provided the navigation I needed to get back on track. Eventually, I had made it to New Hampshire and I was clinging to my iPhone to give me the step by step directions I had now learned it reliably provided.
Is this not exactly how God guides us through life? We feel like we don't need Him when we're in familiar territory. We neglect to reference his Word to get us through the familiar because we can get by, by relying on ourselves and man around us. As we begin to step out of our comfort zone, He provides us directions. But often we don't listen, or think that we know better - and the only thing ignoring Him does is get us lost. So we're lost, alone, and the only hope we can see is by listening to God. The only other option is to stop moving and give up. But really, how appealing an option is it to remain stranded and separated? What if when I got lost in the middle of Massachusetts, I had just stopped my car, and called it a day? Doesn't that sound lame?? I'd be hundreds of miles away from any family, friends, jobs, or home, and nowhere near where I needed to be. Do we do the same with our faith? Do we give up or stay put, even when we know we need to be somewhere else?
His directions may sound crazy or complicated, but they reliably take us from off track, to back on. It may take us several tries, and we may get off track again - either we're not listening or we don't understand. Each and every time God is there to navigate us back to His path for us. The path changes depending on where we fall, and we learn from our experiences and use them to guide us. The point is we're always trying, always moving forward. We're relying on God to keep us moving in the right direction. We may not know where we're going, but we need to have faith that God is there, and that with Him we can never really be lost.