On July 4th, I ran my community’s 5 mile Park to Park race. I am not particularly fast and though I wasn’t at the end, I found myself in a no man’s land between those so much faster than I was and those slower. I had never run this race and I got a bit disoriented at the end. I looped around up a hill instead of going straight and ended up running an extra third of a mile.
My immediate reaction was, “I give up!” It took me a few moments to regroup and head to the finish line. Though frustrated that I had missed the route and that it meant my time would be slower, not finishing would be worse.
I’ve run a couple other races this summer and have found a similar pattern. If I don’t know the route and can’t judge how much further, frustration sets in and I find myself wanting to stop and walk rather than keep running.
The Christian life is a lot like a race. And just like when I run, I get frustrated when I don’t know where I am going. I want to walk or stop or lie down in the road because I think I can’t go any further or I am so disoriented I fear going in the wrong direction.
Maybe it is humanity’s self reliant streak, but God often doesn’t give us all the directions at once. I think it is that if we had the directions we’d all go running off on our own, thinking we knew the way.
In Genesis 12:1 it says, “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Did you catch that? “. . . land I will show you.” No directions downloaded to a navigation system. No maps.
In the book of Exodus, when God leads His people out of Egypt, He leads them. He sets a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Again, no downloaded directions, no OnStar button.
But maybe it is a GPS, to some degree. Instead of Global Positioning System, think God’s Positioning System. What does that come down to? Scripture, the community of God’s people, the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
So, when I feel that disorientation or think that I should just give up and stop, I need to turn to God and ask Him to position my heart, mind, soul, and body — to lead me.
- When have you felt like giving up?
- What keeps you going?
- What do yo do when you feel disoriented?
- What do you think of the idea that God is our GPS?
- Will you let Him show you the way?
The next time you reach for your smart phone, navigation system or blue OnStar button, let it remind you that God is the ultimate GPS: in this life and the next.