Why don’t you stop and ask for directions!?!
These are words that no man wants to hear while he is driving. While well meaning in its intent, the person does not realize that what I am hearing them say is: “I have lost all confidence in your driving and navigating skills. In fact, I would rather trust the advice of a perfect stranger rather than giving you one more second in control of this vehicle. Please stop the vehicle so that I may humiliate you publicly.”
I have often prided myself as one who can find my way around, no matter where I am or what the situation. If you give me time to get my bearings and a map to follow, I can get you there! Is that pride? I think so. Now, we have all heard the axioms in Scripture concerning pride…
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace…” – Proverbs 11:2a
So, in the midst of the storms and flash floods this past Tuesday, I headed out to Faith Hollow Camp, somewhere north of Pea Ridge across the state line into Missouri (somewhere near 36.31′ North Latitude and 94.05′ West Longitude). We had heard of roads closing because of flooding, so my wife encouraged me to “not take any chances.”
So I headed out—confident that I could find the camp that I had driven to once last April. I left early enough to allow for the weather and any unexpected occurrences. Everything was going fine. I arrived at the turn off to the county road, and started the slow trek to the turn off into the camp. Several miles later, the road ended… the road wasn’t supposed to end! I had taken the wrong turn off. Ugh!
So I headed back to the ‘major’ road—Missouri Hwy E—and went further north to look for the turn off. As I went, I crossed many small creek beds that had been transformed into mighty, roaring rivers. I drove and drove, but nothing seemed to look familiar. I was so frustrated with myself! Why hadn’t I asked for directions? Why was I so certain that I knew how to get there?
I pulled off at a wide spot in the road and must have appeared distraught and out of place. Within moments, a kind gentleman in an old, red and white Ford pick-up stopped and asked me if I was okay. I replied, “I’m fine, but I’m lost as a goose!” As we sat there for a few minutes trying to work together to figure out where I needed to go, I had a moment of clarity… There are two major roads that head north out of Pea Ridge and I took the wrong one.
My wrong turn had taken me almost thirty miles in the wrong direction, but Google Maps revealed an alternate route that was only 20 miles and would take me 34 minutes to get there. I was scheduled to speak at the camp at 4:00, and it was 3:25. I had no time to waste!
I thanked the gentleman for his help and started heading back south. This time, my instincts were ‘spot on’ and I made it to the camp only 3 minutes late. I had a great time speaking to the students about life as a missionary, and how that we all have a responsibility to share the love of Christ with our friends and neighbors. I also shared with my saga of getting to camp that day with the group. I remarked about how dim-witted and I had been for not asking directions. Everyone laughed… with me and at me.
After the students were dismissed, someone came to me and explained some things of which I was unaware. You see, the leaders of the camp were not expecting me to make it because the road between Pea Ridge and Faith Hollow Camp had been closed because of flooding! Had I gone the ‘right’ way, I would have never made it at all. I realized in that moment that God knew what He was doing all along!
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
I am so thankful that God is in control of every moment of my life, and that even in those times when I am feeble-minded, He has a plan and is executing it perfectly!