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The Underground Map
by Ruth Mainwaring
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Do you ever sit and wonder. Where would I be right now, if?

If I had never had that relationship
If I had got that promotion
If I had never had that miscarriage
If I had taken THAT path, rather than this one.

Do you ever sit and think.

If I had have married that person, maybe right now things would be better?
If I had have applied for that promotion, I wouldn’t be in the financial situation I am in at the moment?

Do you ever sit, and have regrets?
Do you ever wish you could start your Christian walk again? Start it again, knowing what you do now, and make changes? Take a different path, one where you think it will turn out for the better?
I have sat and struggled with this many a time.

One day while I was sitting on a train, on the underground. I was asking myself the questions I am sure we all do.
I have a tendency when I start thinking like this to take it too far.
I could be here now, I would be happier now.
After a few minutes of being on the train, I felt well and truly, deflated.
I sat there, deliberating it all, feeling well and truly sorry for myself.
I felt like a complete and utter failure.

“Yes, you are.”Came the words.
“What a mess, you could have achieved so much.”
“If you had done this you could be somewhere better now. But instead, look where you are.”
“You will always feel this way. What an unmitigated mess!”
As I sat there, God brought to mind all the good I had done since I had given him my life. All the goodness in my life, but more importantly, the goodness I had given to other people.
The issue that I had made mistakes, and the ‘what if’ question would not go away though, however much I wished it too.
As I was mulling it over I looked up.
Above the window of the rickety train, was a map.
Not just any map, a map of the underground.
Now anyone who is familiar with it will know it is full of different routes, different colour coded train lines, designed to help the user get from A to B.
As I was looking at it, I felt Gods gentle nudge.
I looked at it longer.
The map looked confusing. The different lines, routes , colours and zones were enough to make anyone who lived in London confused, let alone an outsider.

I looked at where I was on the map.
I looked at where I was going.
I was on the red line.

Yet, I could have taken the yellow, blue, orange or green.
Yes, I could have. They would have all got me to the final destination.
Difference being, I had chosen the easiest one for me, because it was the quickest, shortest and cheapest!
I could have taken another. But why would I want to pay more, have to change three times, and be late? Not to mention the possibility of delays.
I sat and thought.
If I had to choose my life plan, the ins and outs the technicalities, I’m pretty sure, like many others, I would choose the easiest. Who wouldn’t? Who wants the delays and the missed connections?
Who wants to have to take ten times longer to complete a journey. And who wants to find out their train has been cancelled.
I know I don’t.
Life is full of situations and circumstances that we cannot change, and sometimes will never understand.
The underground map showed me just how complex life is. Just ones person’s life has so many twists and turns.
The comfort of knowing that through this difficult and trying life, we have a God who cares about every small detail of it, and who knows the best route for us. Even if we do not understand it ourselves.
Maybe you have had train delays in your life, and even a train cancellation that you cannot understand, that you constantly go over, again and again.
Why God, why?
Life is rarely easy, and very often hard.
There may be times, where you feel so hurt and maybe let down by God, that the situation you find yourself left in seems even harder than if you were not a believer in him.
On the train that day I felt him say to me;

I am the Author of life. I am the Alpha and the Omega.
Your life is precious to me. It is because I love you, I allow you to take, and be taken down the different coloured routes.

If he allowed each and every one of us to take the easiest route, how would that build our relationship with him, how would that test our faith, how would our perserverance, patience and character grow?
Maybe, still, you cannot understand the reasons behind your suffering or questions.
But know this.
The Lord, disciplines those he loves, and works ALL things out for the good of those who love him.
He is close to the broken hearted and crushed in Spirit.
His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, and trying to work out why he is allowing something to happen will only confuse our limited minds.
Leave it to the all knowing God to work out your route, as you surrender to him.
Remember that when you commit your ways to the Lord, he will make your paths straight.
Remember the right way, is the narrow way , whatever way he may be taking you, I pray that you reach the final destination.
To hear the words;
Well done, my good and faithful servant.

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