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The Spur

I've just returned from four days on the road, traveling to various communities and speaking to Christian women's groups. Three of those engagements were in a large city that I'm not terribly familiar with. So I took the time before leaving to check on the internet for the locations of each event. Using an internet application I was even able to find out exactly how long it would take me to get from A to B. I printed out the directions and maps and felt well prepared. Just to be safe I also took our trusty GPS along.

For those who might not know, GPS stands for Global Positioning Satellite. It truly is an amazing little gadget. You type in the city and address and a screen lights up with a map and your position is monitored as you drive. Then a friendly voice tells you where to go and when to turn right or left. As I turned it on before leaving for a venue that was in the very heart of the city, I thought there would be no way I could get lost or confused. Famous last words!

You see the map and directions I had copied from the internet did not match with what my GPS was telling me. To make things worse I was heading into the downtown core at the height of the morning rush hour. The traffic was bumper to bumper. The radio had told me there was a city-wide teachers' convention on that morning so the traffic was expected to be even worse than usual. Great, I thought, and my information is contradictory.

As the lilting GPS voice (I call her Lucy) directed me to turn right, I glanced at the written directions I had printed out. Turning right did not make sense. I turned left and ended up where I did not want to be. Then I remembered my husband telling me about the training given pilots in the military. They are taught how to fly blind - literally. The cockpit is covered so they can't see a thing and have to rely entirely on their instruments to take off, fly and then land the aircraft. The number one rule is, believe what the instruments say. Don't rely on your own understanding.

So I turned left and found myself heading into what looked like a residential area. That made me nervous. But Lucy said turn left, so I did. Then left again, and suddenly I was at an intersection. Left one more time, and Lucy triumphantly announced I was "arriving at destination, on right." I looked up and sure enough, there was the hotel where the meeting was being held. Letting Lucy lead me had proven the best course. There was no need to worry.

Sometimes it doesn't seem to make sense to follow what God wants us to do. Logic can dictate a different course of action and we often worry. But God's ways are higher than ours. Like Lucy, He is able to see from a clear vantage point. He knows the beginning and the end and the winding route in between. He knows exactly the best route for each one of us.

Proverbs 3:5&6 says it best - "Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."

God will always get us to where we need to be. No need to worry.

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada. Her devotional book, The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others. To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site - www.vinemarc.com

Copyright Marcia Lee Laycock, 2007

As I waited in the line-up at the post office the other day I overheard a conversation that is quite common for this area of the world.  One person asked after the other and the response was, "Fine, but too busy." The other responded, "That's just life here now, isn't it?"

The comment arises from living in a province/county/town that is at the height of economic boom.  We here in Alberta Canada have seen unprecedented growth in business, housing and population.  As I zoomed into the traffic on our main highway the other day I had a moment of nostalgia for the days when it was not so.  This fast pace takes its toll.  I find I'm often rushing, often trying to think in several directions at once and often afraid that one base or another hasn't been covered.  And I realize it has indeed become "just life" for me and those around me.

And then I realized that expression is really an oxymoron - something that does not, or should not, make sense.  Life is not "just" anything - it's all we have, a gift from God that should be . . .

I have a friend whose son has a form of autism. It’s a rather mystifying condition that presents with many different kinds of symptoms. One of the traits this boy has is called the “blank face syndrome.” For some reason his brain does not recognize the details in faces. Even faces that should be familiar appear blank to him. You can imagine the difficulties that arise as a result.

I thought about that as I contemplated the ending of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. The year ahead is a little like a blank face to me. Because we are launching into a year of so much change, with two daughters leaving home and third being married, a move to a different community and different ministry, a book coming out and opportunities for speaking and teaching opening up, I find myself trying to see what that will all look like. How will we cope with the empty nest? What strategies will be effective in . . .

“What room can I de-clutter now?” My daughter grinned at me. I didn’t grin back. “Slow down,” I said, “we have six months before we move.” She laughed and said it might take longer to do the down-sizing we will have to do to move from a five bedroom into a two-bedroom house. It isn’t going to be easy for me. I confess I am a packrat and I tend to hold on to things a little too tightly. Things like books. My other daughter said we should advertise this way – “House For Sale, Includes Library.” I didn’t grin at that comment, either.

The problem is that so many of the things around me have a story attached. Many of the things are connected to people – friends and family. Letting them go means letting go of emotional attachments and memories, so it’s hard, even though I tell myself that . . .

I’d been watching the progress of the building each week. It stood across the field from our church, so watching the huge home being built became a Sunday morning distraction as I pulled into the parking lot. Last Sunday I noticed there was a large orange tarp draped over the north side. They’re probably working on the exterior finishing, I thought, as I entered the church to prepare for my Sunday school class.

There’s a little boy who lives across the other field. He’s a watcher too. As soon as he sees a vehicle arrive at the church he knows the doors will be open and over he runs. When he arrived this past Sunday, he had a question.

“Where’s all that smoke coming from?” 

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