There are at least two ways to get where you want to go. You can work out how to get there yourself or someone can lead you there.
Before we had GPS devices, Siri and satellite navigation, we had street directories. If you wanted to get somewhere you would first have to sit down and locate where you were, where you wanted to go, and then work out the steps and directions to get there. Every time you got lost you needed to go through the same process – find where you are, find where you want to go, and work out how to get there.
All this has changed. These days you can get where you want to go without needing to know how to get there. Thanks to sat nav and smart phones, you don’t need to figure out the directions beforehand, you just need to know how to follow instructions (still challenging for some, I know!). You key in your desired location and your sat nav does the work, directing you along the roads you need to take as you go. If you get lost, the GPS reroutes and tells you how to get back on track. You don’t need to know how to get to your destination, you just need to trust that your GPS unit does.
Doing life and walking with Jesus is less like old tech street directories and more like sat nav.
Let me explain. Many of us spend our lives trying to work out how to get to where we want to go. We work hard to make our marriage go where we want it to. We work hard to get our kids to the destination we want for them. We work hard to get our job, our career, our bank account, our relationships … to the desired places. But most of the time we are more successful at getting lost than getting where we’d hoped.
The bottom line is people need leadership. Goals and objectives are good for us but can easily carry some unhelpful parasites such as anxiety and control. The Bible is not a street directory that gives you steps to get where you want to go, it is a book that introduces you to the person who will lead you towards what is best.
You can see this in one of Jesus’ interactions with his disciples.
In John 14:4, Jesus tells his disciples that they know the way to the place where he is going (he had just finished talking about his father’s house and his preparations for them). Thomas replied, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5) Sounds like a fair question, but Thomas got caught out. Even though he knew the way, he didn’t know he knew the way. This was because the way was a person, not a set of directions. Thomas fell into an ‘old tech’ trap (aka – the street directory approach), thinking he needed to know how to be able to get there, rather than knowing someone who could take him. Jesus responded:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
Because Thomas knew Jesus, he didn’t need to know how to get there. Jesus would make sure he made it.
It’s the same for you.
You don’t really need to know how to get to where you are going, or even exactly where that is, you just need to be connected to Jesus and be led by Him. Knowing how to get there is OK, knowing someone who knows everything about the best destination and is committed to get you there, as long as you’ll go with Him, is better.