When I was a child, if we were driving somewhere and Dad said, “I think we’ll take a scenic route” it was never good news. Usually it meant that we were lost…
Maybe because of that, or perhaps just because I’m generally impatient to get to where I’m going, the concept of the scenic route has never appealed to me. I’ve always thought that journeys are something you want to get over with quickly – life happens at destinations.
I’m pretty much the same when it comes to living. When I hear a whisper from God about where he might want to take me, I become anxious to get there as soon as possible. I would pick the direct, fast, straight-line, know-exactly-where-you’re-going motorway route every time.
In my experience, life with Jesus is much more like taking the A-roads (and often some ‘B’ ones). There are destinations, sure, but he is in charge of the route to get to them, and he may well want me to take in some beautiful views and visit a few other interesting places on the way.
I learned something about this last year when some friends kindly offered to drive me from Derby to Manchester Airport. “We’ll come early” they said, “and drive across country – that way you’ll enjoy the journey”. I didn’t tell them that it had never even occured to me that there was more than one way to Manchester Airport, or that it was possible to do anything other than endure a journey!
Our not-motorway route took us around the edges of the Peak District and past breathtaking scenery, through industrial towns and forgotten villages, up hills and down, through places where people live and nature grows. It was anything but a straight line and took us much longer to get to the airport, but for once, I actually enjoyed it.
The A-road life can feel hugely frustrating. Especially if, like me, you are wired a bit impatiently. Where are the big blue signs that I’m heading towards my ‘destination’? Where are the numbers that tell me how far I have left to go and how much longer I have to wait? Can I even be sure I’m heading the right way?
Even if I’m carrying in the back of my mind the feeling that the airport is somewhere up ahead in my future, I have no idea how long it will take to get there, or how near or far away I am.
On the B-road route, there are no signs pointing the way to the airport until you are almost there.
You could be five miles away and still not know.
You just have to trust the driver.
That’s it, that’s what I’m trying to get my head around:
I don’t even need to have a look at the map. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the map
I just have to trust the driver, lean back, and see what I can learn along the way.
And if we take the scenic route, so be it, I’m going to enjoy the ride.
…because we definitely won’t be lost.