I got up early this morning to get ready for my trip. After packing the car with clothes, food, and reading material, I head out. As I leave the driveway and start heading down the main road, I begin to list in my head some of the things that I might have forgotten:
- Did I cover the trashcans? No, I couldn’t; the trash guys threw them away by accident last week.
- Were all of the faucets turned off? They should be off—they make so much noise when they are on that I could never forget them! What about the sprinkler? Well, after six inches of rain, I’m truly certain I did not turn it on! Wait! The leaking faucet in the laundry room! I don’t think I—that’s right—the plumber eliminated that faucet months ago when he fixed the drain on that sink! (Note to self: ask plumber why that faucet was eliminated months ago.)
- Did I adjust the thermostat? Think, think, think! Of course I did—it was set so cold last night that I had to turn it up.
- Maps! Where are the maps (I’m too frugal to buy a GPS unit)? They are not in the glove compartment. They are not in the map holder on the door! WHY are they not in the map holder and WHERE did I put them and WHAT is this lump I’m sitting on? Oh. Never mind! The maps are found! I’m sure I put them on the seat so I wouldn’t forget them! Hey, what do you know?—it worked!
- Did I remember to give the neighbor the key to feed the dogs? Oh, no! I left the keys in the kitchen drawer! No, no, no—I brought the dogs over to the neighbor instead!
- Were the lights turned off? Definitely! This one I know I did!
- Did I turn off the lawnmower and put it away? OK, brain—why would I be using the mower at 5 o’clock in the morning on the day I leave for a trip in the first place! (Not to mention, why would I leave the mower running unattended, anyway?)
- Were the clothes removed from the dryer and folded? (Hmm, why did that thought occur?) I had to pack them last night for today’s trip!
- The iron! I forgot to turn off the iron! I knew I’d forget something! It seems like everybody forgets the iron.
I am only several miles from home, and I am turning around and heading back already for one little iron! Wait! Wait! Wait! Stop everything! I don’t own an iron! The last one quit working after it fell out of the second floor bedroom window onto the sidewalk below (don’t ask why) and I never bothered to replace it (again, don’t ask what I am now using for an iron). Well, now, with all of the potential concerns mentally resolved, I turn back around and head on my way.
Let’s see—I turn left onto 24th Street and then right at Dunkirk, or was that left at Dunkirk and 23rd Avenue? Wait—I just passed the expressway! I wasn’t supposed to pass it; I’m supposed to be driving to it. (Or was that another expressway!) OK, what city am I in anyway? There goes a 3rd Avenue, now I’m crossing Humbardy Drive, Wakins Lane, Harvest, Crumfeld. Humbardy? Crumfeld? I don’t remember any seeing ANY of these streets! It’s time to look at the map again! I pull over at the outskirts of the city and start scanning the maps. After looking through several maps in bewilderment, I get out and start looking around, trying figure out where I am. Following what seemed like a few moments of somewhat aimless wandering, an older man approaches me.
“Ya look lost,” he says in a hesitant tone.
“I am,” I reply without much enthusiasm.
“Where ya headed?” he casually inquires.
“I don’t know,” I reply, this time with a bit of bewilderment in my voice.
“Well, ya must’ve been going someplace. Where ya from?” He seems a bit upset in his response now.
“Home,” I said, without much thought of what I am saying.
“Son, you ARE lost. You’d better find some REAL help soon!” And with that, while shaking his head and muttering to himself, he walks back toward where he had mysteriously appeared from.
At this point, I interrupt this story to ask if you have ever felt like this. Or do you feel like this now? We all reach this point in our lives, sometimes early in life, and sometimes near the end. We become lost in our way. We get confused or disoriented. We plan out our life, often to the finest details, only to have it fall apart later on. We search and search for answers to the confusion that is all around us, yet the results are either short-lived with little satisfaction, or they cause us to be even more lost.
We may hear someone tell us, with great flamboyancy and optimism, how wonderful we are, or that we just need a little boost in our self-esteem. Yet, just a short time after hearing this, after we have our self-worth all pumped up, everything goes sour again.
We become deflated like a flat tire. Depression sets in and despair begins pulling us down. We go to a church, or stumble across a program on TV, and hear a phrase from the Bible like, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Or the person speaking tells us that “we are hopelessly lost.” We travel on and on looking for that expressway or road that was supposed to bring us away from all of this, and yet we get farther and farther away. It seems like the maps are all wrong, or there is no map for where we are. Our GPS unit keeps repeating “recalculating…” and never gives us another route. We get to the point that we don’t really know where we are going, and we hardly know where we came from.
Do you know that this is just where God wants us to be? Huh? God wants me to be lost and at the point of no hope? Yes! He wants you to see that you can’t make it on your own abilities or with your own ‘self’. If you don’t give up and let Him take over, He will keep on pushing and pulling and prodding. We think we can run down the middle of the road with God on one side and the Devil on the other. But it doesn’t work that way. You are either on one side or the other; there is no middle road. The Devil is a very hard taskmaster who makes only one payment for your toil and your self-gratifying pleasure—death!
On the other hand, God pays wages of eternal riches and eternal life!
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
God is not some sadistic dictator who gets great pleasure from seeing us beaten around, struggling and kicked about, or bound by depression and despair. He sent His only Son to pay the penalty that we deserve, death. And not only was He sent, His Son also chose to die in our place!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This is like a lighthouse operator seeing a small ship struggling and floundering in a narrow and shallow strait, with waves crashing upon sharp, jagged rocks on either side. He can tell that the ship’s captain is determined to get through that strait on his own. It is obvious to him that the captain is focused on himself, not on the passengers or the cargo. The captain refused to believe that something much larger than himself could take his life soon.
God knows you are lost and confused, and He knows your future. He wants to lead you through it, if you will let Him. He knows what is best for you, but, at the same time, He will only push so far. It’s your choice whether to have faith in Jesus and surrender to Him, or not. Will you give your life to Him right now and let Him guide your path, or will you just keep traveling on with no real hope or direction? It doesn’t take a college degree or a pilgrimage to a foreign land to find Jesus. Just admit to Him that you are lost and a sinner (wrongdoer), that you can’t make it on your own. Let Him know that you accept His sacrifice (His death at the Cross) as the payment for your sins, declare to Him that you will forsake all of your sins totally, and let Him be the head or ruler of your life (not you or the Devil) from now on.
If you want to know more about yielding to God, or if you want additional information, click here to find out more.