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Missing The Grand Canyon

 

Christine Anderson

 

 

 

The entrance of Your words gives light;

it gives understanding to the simple.

I opened my mouth and panted,

for I longed for Your commandments.

(Psalm 119:130-131)

 

As the deer pants for the water brooks,

so pants my soul for You,

O God. My soul thirsts for God,

for the living God.

(Psalm 42:1-2a)

 

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You;

 my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1)

 

 

Your word have I hidden in my heart,

that I might not sin against You.

(Psalm 119:11)

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

  (Psalm 119:105)

 

 

 

Several years ago, on our annual Mother-Daughter Retreat, we decided it would be fun to drive to the Grand Canyon. Rising early in the morning, we packed the car with maps, water, jackets, & snacks. After strapping ourselves and 7 month old baby Christian in, we took off for an exciting adventure. The first mistake we made, however, was asking for directions from two different people, and neglecting to check the map. Happily chatting away, we drove for many miles before I started getting a niggling feeling that something was not quite right. It seemed that we should have reached the Grand Canyon some time ago – and now all we could see in any direction was dessert and scrub, and not a single sign of civilization – not a single place to stop to ask directions. Finally, we saw a little shack with an Indian woman selling silver jewelry beside the dusty road. “Do you know where the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is?” I asked.

 

Her reply was a blank look! I asked about the Colorado River, and she said there was a river with a bridge just up ahead. With relief, we got back on the road. Sure enough, there was a bridge – over a trickle of water! I knew we were in serious trouble when a sign for the Cliff Dwellers appeared, but at least there was a gas station nearby. I bet the attendant is still laughing at the bedraggled young women who asked the location of the South Rim, and were told they missed the turn. By 130 miles!!! The North Rim was still 80 miles ahead! We were literally in the middle of nowhere, with no option except to turn around and go back the way we had come. By then, we had all used up our happy attitudes, especially the screaming baby in the back seat.

 

When we were speaking to one another again, we decided to see what spiritual lessons we could glean from our experience. All our frustration could have been avoided if we had done one thing: consult the road map! If we had taken the time to study the map before we ever left the hotel, we would have known the correct route to take, and to be on the look-out for the sign telling us where to turn off the highway. Instead, we decided to do it our own way, relying on faulty advice from others, and deciding to look at the map only if we got lost. The funny thing about losing your way, is that getting lost happens gradually. You slowly lose sight of the destination, distracted by sights along the way. When we finally realized how far off course we had gotten, we had to turn around and endure a long, painful drive back to where we had missed the turn.

 

This is like the Christian life ~ we start off well, and when things are going smoothly, we get our eyes off the map, listen to other people, think we can do it all ourselves just fine. Galations 5:7 says: “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” When we neglect God’s guidance through His road map, the Bible, and prayer, listening to worldly counsel rather than seeking godly advice, we slowly get off-course, and wonder why we find ourselves in a dry, desolate place in our lives. Like the road map on the floor in our car, the Bible sits unopened on the shelf. Repenting, turning around, and getting back on the right path with the Lord can be a long, painful process, but it’s the only way to find our way back into the will of God, and his path for your life. Wouldn’t it be better to consult life’s road map, the bible, every day before beginning that day’s journey? At every turn in the road, wouldn’t it be better to check with the One who designed the map? Every day that we neglect fellowship with the Lord, is a step off the path, a slow compromise to our commitment to Christ.

 

Another consideration is to determine if we even have the correct map in the first place. You won’t find your way to the Grand Canyon in Arizona if your map says “Texas”! Perhaps you’re heard people say that all religions are the same, that all roads lead to God. But the Bible says that JESUS Christ is the only way, the only truth, the only life, and that no one comes to the Father except by Him (John14:6).

 

Matthew 7:13-14 tells us to enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 

What road map are you using to guide you through life? If it’s the Word of God, are you reading the map and following it faithfully?"

 

Growing in faith and love for Christ, revealed as He is in Scripture, will be the greatest of all preservatives against being led astray. The person who is saturated in the teaching and spirit of the Gospels will have his or her senses ‘trained…to distinguish good from evil’ (Heb. 5:14, NIV) and to know what is truly Christ-like and Christ-honoring.” [taken from “in Christ alone” by Sinclair B. Fergusen]

 

© Christine Anderson, 2008