Tag Archives: lost?

Which way now?

On Tuesday I went to Belper.

I moved country in July, so I’m still living in mostly unfamiliar territory and finding my way to new places can be interesting.  My mental map of Derbyshire is a bit dodgy – just little patches of knowledge connected by long spindly lines, with acres of uncertainty on either side.

But Belper is easy.  Straight up a charming road called the A6, through a couple of small towns with rather lovely countryside, always heading straight on, and then when you get to a roundabout – you’re there.

On the way back I didn’t even switch the SatNav on.

So it was a bit of a shock when the road ahead was closed. A burst water main had flooded the unfortunate village of Milford and the one road home I knew was completely blocked.

I did the only thing I could – turned round and drove back the way I’d come, looking for somewhere to pull in and turn on the SatNav.

But, as it turns out, I didn’t need to.  There was a signpost to a village that sounded familiar – I’d been there once before and I was fairly sure it was close to a route back to the city – And indeed, after driving miles in the ‘wrong’ direction, following signs to Kilburn, I found a different (faster) road home.

Another ordinary tale of my life.  But the reason it caught my attention was that I’d spent the morning talking with a new friend about kids and books and church and Jesus, but also about how we deal with ‘roadblocks’ in our lives.  You know-  when you’ve got a plan, and it all seems obvious how things are going to work out, and then something entirely unexpected blocks the road ahead.  When you knew exactly what you were going to do; what was going to happen and how everything was going to pan out, but then you hit a ‘Road Ahead Closed’.

When this kind of thing happens, I almost always sit there thinking a number of unhelpful things:  “this isn’t fair”… “I don’t know what to do next”…”I must have heard God wrong”… “this doesn’t happen to other people”… and feeling confused, panicky, and maybe a little bit cross with God for not following the plan.

Sometimes it is the right thing to just wait until God unblocks the road.

But often, there’s a different route to our destination. One that for some reason which may never be clear, he wants us to take.   So it may be that a better response to being in this situation is to say, “I still believe in what you said; which way do you want to take me instead?”

Yesterday I could have switched on the SatNav and trustingly followed her instructions –  “At the roundabout, take the third left”.  Sometimes that’s how God leads us – step by step, us trusting him to reveal his plan as we travel together.

And sometimes that still small voice reminds us that he has already given us an answer, that somehow he has already prepared us to face this situation and with a little help from a few signs, we’re already equipped to find our way.

 

 

 

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There’s more than one way to Manchester Airport

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.

However…

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.

manchester airport

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.