Recently, Janine and I took a sunny Sunday drive to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. While traveling the windy roads alongside the lake, we came across a triangular yellow metal sign with a black arrow bent in the middle at a ninety-degree angle. This indicated a sharp left turn in the road up ahead. Below this sign was a smaller rectangular white sign with black letters that read “Keep Right”. A moment of bewilderment ensued – do we go left or right? In the end we did successfully navigate the turn in the road while at the same time musing over the puzzling signpost.
Seemingly, these moments of bewilderment are now more commonplace in my life and ministry. Maybe this is due to aging or past disorienting experiences. Sometimes I feel drained navigating the tensions and contradictions that reach my desk, whether they be theological, political, philosophical, ecclesiastical or relational. I resonate much more today with Paul’s words to the church in Corinth: “For now we see through a glass, darkly….” Paul’s assertion is a simple one, much of our sojourn in life, on this side of heaven, is one where ambiguity, rather than clarity, is the milieu.
Our world appears to be a complex and confusing place for any person to traverse. This reality is no different for the faithful disciple of Christ. In a world that too often declares right to be wrong and wrong to be right, evil to be good and good to be evil, how does one live for Jesus faithfully and with integrity? As leaders, what is our counsel? What example do we set?
To help navigate this reality, my soul’s map consists of several tested and true signposts. These markers help me traverse life’s arduous or befuddling landscapes:
Trust in God – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6
Focus on Jesus – “…let us run with perseverance the race marked our for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12:1b,2a
Anchor to Scripture – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a lamp for my path.” Psalm 119:105
Listen for the Holy Spirit – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13a
Ask godly counselors – “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
I match these signposts with my own personal experiences of God’s work in my life – His love for me, His blessings and His faithful presence in all circumstances.
Friends, today you may be at some kind of crossroad, perhaps struggling with a perplexing decision or torn between two divergent trails. Maybe the landscape before you is dark, even frightening, and the way forward is far from certain. The above signposts which I have looked to for direction have proven over and over that they are trustworthy and effective. They have given me that which I need to take the next step and the one after that and the one after that. And, where the path still remains uncertain, I do what pleases God, I live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:6).
“We are never without a pilot—even when we do not know which way to steer.” – L.B. Cowman
Written by Phil Gunther
Director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches