Unknown Roads Jeremiah 29:11-13 Proverbs 3:1-6 I’m the kind of person who likes to know where I am... and... where I’m going. In fact, there are few things in life that cause me more anxiety (personally) than being lost. Years, and years ago... when I was a just a kid... my mother had taken our family to Birmingham to visit my grandmother, who was in the hospital recovering from a heart procedure. Anyway... on the way home, we got “turned around” - which is a good “southern” way of saying, “we were lost” - and I think the concept, the idea, and fear of being lost... of not being able to find my own way... has been seared in my psyche ever since. Of course, that was pre Global Positioning System days... But... GPS can get you lost, too. I’ve learned there are many streets in rural Troup County that are “streets” on GPS, but not in real life. One is near the Loyd Church, between Upper Glass Bridge Road and the Highlands Subdivision. Still... GPS can be a wonderful invention, at times. A couple of years ago, Tammy and I were traveling to a bowl game... and we had planned to travel the interstate most of the way. It was our first time going to this particular bowl, but Interstate highways are usually the most direct, and quickest routes... especially when traveling to major cities. Well, Tammy’s GPS on her telephone kept telling us to take an alternate route... to get off the interstate, that it wasn’t the fastest way. Which of course, I completely ignored. I’d researched the trip and had downloaded directions via the Google... so I was confident we were gonna make the very best time by staying on the interstate. Which would have surely been the case... had it not been for major traffic accident ahead, that the GPS had apparently been informed about... We were stuck in traffic for about 45-minutes or so... before we finally came to an exit (which we took)... and then we began to wind our way through the back country along roads we will most likely never travel again, in an effort to get around the accident. If we’d only listened to the advice of the GPS... we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of time, and frustration. Sometimes the popular route... the planned way... isn’t ultimately the best way. Sometimes the best way, takes us down unknown roads... through places we’ve never been, nor would we have ever chosen to visit. I know it’s simplistic, and maybe a little cheesy. But I think God’s Word is a lot like the GPS navigation system in our cars and on our cell phones. Sometimes God’s Word calls us to follow the unknown road... an unfamiliar path. God reminds us, “You don’t always have to know what’s ahead of you. You just have to trust that I will give you the directions, all you have to do... is follow.” Of course, all this talk of GPS, and trusting God’s Word, reminds me of our scripture lesson. A verse I memorized long ago. It’s one I can rattle off without a thought, which is sad because there is no point to rattling off scripture without a thought. There should be lots and lots of thoughts devoted to it. But anyway. It’s Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Those are good words for us today, don’t you think? Think about all the parents who’ve suddenly become teachers! Or... employees who’ve reported to the office for years - suddenly having to work from home. Those are unknown roads for sure! Or those who’ve stepped out in faith... choosing faith over fear. After much prayer and preparation my sister and brother-in-law chose become foster parents a while back... and eventually adopted two foster children. That’s a leap of faith for sure... it’s no doubt walking an unknown road. And you don’t have to be a teacher trying to teach from home... or a parent learning to home-school. You don’t have to be a furloughed worker or a foster parent to know the uncertainty and trepidation of this life. You can simply be a parishioner - a church member - a worshiper... who’s suddenly been asked to participate in “online worship.” Or a preacher who’s been called to preach to empty pews and video cameras, trying to share the Good News of Christ to a world that most often doesn’t want to hear. You may have never envisioned yourself in the role you’ve been thrust into. You would have never chosen this unknown road for yourself. But - God’s Word is true, and God’s promises are certain. He promises us that he will never leave us nor forsake us... and that nothing can ever separate us from his love, grace and care. For his grace is always sufficient... We are never alone... and... we can never be lost when we’re in His presence. You can never be lost when you’re in Christ and Christ is in you. Lean not on your own understanding... acknowledge God in all your ways, and he will direct your path. You and I can trust His promise that the unknown road will get us to where we’re supposed to be. After all... we’re following something much better than the most high-tech GPS - something real, yet unseen. Of course, God doesn’t promise that our paths will always be easy when we follow Him. Our paths will often be rough... but HE will make those paths straight. And they will lead us to where we are supposed to be. And if we trust in Him, that’s all we really need to know.
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