Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22).
Wandering or driving around completely lost is very frustrating. Some people welcome it as a means of adventure or discovery. However, some of us task-oriented schedule-keepers have places to go, people to see. (Can you say, “Control much?”)
Lost and Frustrated
On a recent vacation, my wife and I landed late, exhausted from the all-day journey. Making matters worse, our plans changed during the trip. This left us without solid hotel accommodations. An airport strike at our original destination altered our plans by six-hundred and fifty miles.
Going through customs at our new vacation spot, the immigration official graciously directed us to a nearby, brand-new hotel. We could spend the night and finish planning the details of our stay. It was close enough to walk so off we went, suitcase wheels whirring a staccato rhythm on the lined walkway.
Entering the first floor, the air-conditioned breeze blew away the tropical steaminess. Seeing the vast rooms with glass doorways and shimmering chandeliers, I thought, “This is going to be fantastic!” Yet, several minutes of wandering revealed the entire floor vacant. No furniture, phones, or people. More importantly, there was no hotel lobby. Nothing like being tired, lost and frustrated while wandering around a posh, though vacant, building in a foreign country.
About to give up and head back to the airport for the night, we noticed a small sign. “Our hotel lobby is on the 3rd Floor.” Its arrow pointed us down a hallway, through several turns, to the elevator. Finally! Instructions that ended our previously futile search! Reading and following directions got us to our place of rest.
It reminded me of another sign on a treacherous hiking trail: “What you read and follow will save your life.”
Although instructions seem restrictive, they help and protect. For example, imagine re-wiring an electrical outlet before reading the warning about turning the power off before starting.
Thankfully, God has also given us His instructions, commonly referred to as the Bible. It provides all the information necessary to live spiritually healthy lives while safeguarding our eternal destinies. As with any instructional guidance, God’s Word isn’t restrictive or punitive. It offers God’s wisdom and grants the freedom of choice to follow it or not – and the subsequent outcomes.
Just like our frustrated wandering in the hotel, this spiritually devoid world touts a luxurious structure. Oh, it looks quite charming and appealing. We often seek shelter and comfort in its alluring embrace – only to find it vacant of what matters most. In frustration we vainly wander its vacancy until we encounter God’s sign instructing us where to find truly fulfilling life and how to get there.
The Way Out of Vacancy
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Only through Him do we find abundant, fulfilling life here (John 10:10) and eternal bliss hereafter (John 14:1-3).
Trusting anyone or anything besides Jesus only distorts God’s specific instructions and leads to more disillusioned wandering. Imagine how foolish we would be to ignore the hallway sign and continue our futile search. Thinking, “That sign can’t be right,” or “I’ll find the hotel lobby on my own” would have been ridiculous.
Trusting any other source than Jesus, relying on good deeds, or hoping for the best are similarly foolish and ultimately unfulfilling. Self-sufficiency, doubting God’s Word, or rejecting His instructions all result in more futile wandering in sin’s emptiness and Satan’s delusion.
My fellow frustrated, fatigued traveler, there’s no need to wander any further. Read God’s sign and follow His instructions. He made it easy to understand and simple to follow. He knows the way, made the way, and is the way. He’s given sufficient instructions, The choice is yours to continue wandering or to follow them to His safety, favor, and rest.
Safe travels, my friend!