Stopping for Directions
by David Wells
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December 20, 2011 Ė Stopping for Directions
15 And a certain man found him, and behold, he had lost his way and was wandering in the open country. The man asked him, What are you trying to find? - Genesis 37:15 AMP
The story of Joseph is very well known. The favorite son, hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, and the number two man in Egypt. He saw both the highs and lows of life. He was a foreshadowing of Jesus in that he delivered his family from death. But in todayís verse he was lost. He was looking for his brothers but had no idea where he was. It was then that a man found him and directed him to his brothers.
Have you ever been lost? I have on several occasions. As a man I can tell you this: I do not stop for directions. I cannot recall the number of times Marlo and I have been traveling and gotten lost. She would beg me to stop for directions, but I never would. Iím a man. We have a keen sense of direction, right? Thereís just something about a sense of accomplishment for men in finding their way without assistance. Whether itís in the rain forests of South America, or on the streets of an unknown city, itís an adventure coupled with victory at the same time. Come on guys, I know you will back me up on this one. And I also know that if you donít already have a GPS, itís on your Christmas list. Thatís all well and good, but sometimes it is an absolute necessity to stop for directions.
Our family lives in a very rural setting. Itís so rural in fact that the GPS in my vehicle does not take us directly to our driveway. The road shows up, but the location is far from correct. If someone seeks to find us precisely, they have to call us for directions to be guided in. They will have no other choice. It is sad to admit, but Christians many times do the same thing in life: they only stop for directions when they have no idea where to go next.
Society has taught us over the years to look at life with a bold confidence. Sayings like take the bull by the horns and the world is my oyster fuel such approaches to life. But where is God? I can tell you where he was in my life. He wasnít there at all. I was confident and even arrogant of my abilities, determination, and work ethic. I knew everything, so why did I need God? I was my own god. Then reality struck. We were in church and were very involved, but my life was missing something. I had missed a major part of my childrenís lives. They were in diapers in what seemed to be a couple of weeks before, but in actuality it had been closer to ten years. What was worse was that they were picking up some of the baggage I carried around in my life. Sure, I was saved, but I wasnít living what I was preaching. I needed to stop for directions.
Until I stopped for directions everything I tried was in vain. My family was falling apart. I was hiding sin in my life. Our business was suffering. I was spending too much time trying to fix things by my own merits rather than allow God to come into my life and help me. I needed His guidance. But God never forced me to stop or slapped me around. I think all of us would stop dead in our tracks if God did that to get our attention. I can look back now and see where He called me and tried to advise me all along, but like most people caught up in themselves, I was too insolent to listen.
When I finally stopped long enough to listen to Him, I found my way to the narrow path. Now Iím not saying that Iíve arrived or have it completely together by any means. But I do know without a doubt that the path I was on was leading me to destruction and the gates of hell. I can say with confidence now that I am no longer on that path and strive daily to steer clear of it.
Christians many times have problems asking for directions because they donít like stopping. With work, children, and church their schedules are full. My solution to this dilemma is to simplify your life. If you make time to watch television around everything else, you have time to give to God. If you are involved in six different ministries at church, you need to check yourself to see if you are serving God or the church. Studying the Word, seeking Godís will for your life through prayer, and just listening to Him is spending time with Him. He doesnít want you to serve in a church first, He wants you first. When you make Him first, he will prepare you the service He has reserved you for. It may not even be in a church. But I can guarantee you this: whatever He has you do will be more fulfilling than anything you ever imagined.
Have you ever needed to stop for directions? Are you lost? Is there a nagging emptiness somewhere deep inside you? Is there something missing, and youíre just too busy or too prideful to seek out the source? If youíre lost on the highway or in life remember: stopping for the right directions will always turn you where you need to go.
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Thanks for this outstanding article. I hope a lot of men read it.