Have you ever gotten lost? I remember the first time I went to New York City. It was with my wife on our honeymoon and I can remember us walking around the city, going from sight to sight, figuring out which trains to take, trying to navigate the city. If you’ve never been to New York, there is a unique feature when you are downtown amidst all the skyscrapers: north, south, east, and west are hard to determine because you can’t see the sun down there. The buildings are so tall that we could never tell exactly which direction we were going. Now, before you say “pull out your phone,” I should tell you this was 2007, and we were still rocking the Motorola RazR, which was the coolest phone before the iPhone hit.
There were several times when I looked at her and simply said, “We’re lost.” I ended up going into a little corner store and buying a compass. We were touristy enough with the maps and camera, but imagine how ridiculous I looked navigating the streets of NYC with a compass in front of me! In my subsequent trips I have learned that the streets are labeled in such a way that lets you know north and south. If it is a street, it runs east-west. If it is an avenue, it runs north-south. That would have been great information to know ahead of time.
When you get in a situation when you are lost, there’s always that moment where you ask, “Where did I go wrong?” A missed turn, a passed exit, a landmark not recognized. It is so easy for one wrong decision to screw up the entire route, and within moments, you find yourself so far away from where you know you should be. This happens to us spiritually as well.
All of us who have said yes to Jesus want to know his will and be on the right path. I don’t know a single person who has a real relationship with Jesus who doesn’t want that. But as much as we wanted to end up at 30 Rock, or at St. John’s Cathedral in New York, the wrong decision at one fork in the road kept us from that. I know you want to be where God wants you to be, but are you making the right decisions to get you there?
One of the most important things in terms of being where God wants you to be is deciding whether or not to do a certain thing. Obviously I am not talking about choosing simple things like what to eat tonight, but those impactful decisions. “Should I take this job?” “Should I date this person?” “Should I go do what my friends are doing tonight?” “Should I take this class?” Some of these decisions are huge, others are more minor, however they all have one thing in common, and this should be the deciding factor: do they get me closer to my purpose?
There were times when we would take a street in New York that seemed out of the way, but it was the route that connected us to the avenue we needed to be on to get to where we were going. There may be times in your life when it seems like you are going backwards, or you are going in the opposite direction of where you think you need to be going. I want you to take heart in these moments. You may be on the wrong street at the moment, even in the wrong part of town, but God doesn’t just know the right roads, he knows all the roads. He knows where you are, and he knows how you got there, and friend, he knows how to get you to the right place.
You need to hear today that no matter how you got to the place you are right now, God has an intersection just ahead of you, one he knew would come along your path, and in his omniscience, and in his love for you, he made an appointment to meet you at that intersection. No, it isn’t the path he wanted you to go down, but he is willing to meet you on the wrong road so he can get you on the right road. That’s how much he loves you and how dedicated he is to you reaching your potential in him.
You may feel heavy hearted in this moment because it wasn’t a string of mistaken exits that got you where you are, but a calculated refusal to do this God’s way. Maybe you walked away from him. Maybe you chose the path you’re on because you wanted to be in control of your life. Maybe sin met you at an intersection years ago and you have followed it to the darkest alleyways. I want you to know that none of that matters. How you got there isn’t important. How you get out is.
One of the coolest things about a map is something we don’t really think about. All the streets are connected. I can leave my house in Longview, Texas and go right around the corner, and the street I am on will still be connected to my driveway. But even if I were on the north side of Seattle, thousands of miles away, that road I would be on is still connected to my driveway 2200+ miles away.
My point is this: if you are around the block from being at home with God, or if you are a thousand miles away, take comfort in the fact that you are still connected to God, and all it takes to get back to him is a U-turn. You are never too far away to get to God. And no matter what street you are on or what avenue you are walking, be encouraged that all roads lead home.