Missing The Grand Canyon
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.
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.
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.
Your word have I hidden in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
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