Without a compass, it is impossible to maintain a sense of direction in Fort Saskatchewan - not that a person can’t figure it out from time to time. At noon, the sun is directly south, unless of course we are on daylight saving time. Then it is south at 11:00 a.m. At night, the north star at the tail end of the little dipper is approximately north, that is if you can find the north star and if the sky is clear enough to see stars.
Once a person knows the directions, the next trick is maintaining them. I once knew a man that claimed if anyone blindfolded him and spun him around several times, when he stopped spinning he could “dead-reckon” any given direction without removing the blindfold. I would like to test him - take him from my house in Pineview to the Mall downtown, with or without blinders, and see if he knows which way is which . . . or even how to get back home, for that matter!
As my dad says, this city is “cattiwumpus” with the world. It doesn’t’ always line up north and south, east and west. Even right and left are tricky with some of the curved streets. I gave up on exact directions a long time ago. Now I just follow the streets and know (most of the time) that they will take me where I want to go.
But finding the way becomes more complex when I try to direct a newcomer. My instructions must be clear, easy to follow and accurate. Then the other person must trust them (and me) and read them right -- or find out it is possible to wander around lost in Pineview for an hour or more!
Then there is that other journey we take . . . through life. Certainly we need a compass to chart our course. Once we decide where we want to go, the path is seldom straight or clearly marked with signs and signals.
About 17 years ago, I realized that I was lost. I didn’t know for certain where I was going, much less how to get there. My so-called sense of direction proved unreliable. I began searching for something to guide me when Jesus confronted me, challenging me with His claim: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.”
Of course I wanted the ultimate destination He spoke of, eternity with God, therefore accepted Him as the Way. However, once I did that, the trials of life still spin me round and round sometimes, or I miss the proper turn and wonder if I am still going the right direction.
To make matters worse, life doesn’t always line up with my expectations. His way sometimes seems a contradiction to my own sense of direction. When that happens, He reminds me how easy it is to become more lost and confused by relying on dead reckoning and driving down roads and taking turns that “seem” right. (Proverbs even says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of that way is death.”)
He also reminds me that following His Way is much like going downtown. If I follow 99th Avenue, I will eventually reach city center because that is where 99th goes. In life, if I follow Jesus (my way, my truth, and my life), I will reach my eternal destination because that is where Jesus will take me.
I can’t maintain my sense of direction without my Living compass. He is always there, faithful to direct my steps, able to lead me along. He is Himself the Way to follow, the Truth to believe in, and the Life that makes this journey full of hope and certainty.