Don’t veer off the path

Published 4:13 pm Friday, January 8, 2016

With a limited window of opportunity available, we made plans for a brief trip to north Georgia to visit family during New Year’s week end. But it seemed that Murphy’s Law was in effect on the day that we were to leave—the weather was bad, my work day went much longer than I expected, I had already driven over two hundred and fifty miles in the course of the day, and it was nearly night before we embarked upon the three hundred mile trek. That didn’t stop us, though, and we headed north despite being weary and less than enthusiastic about the ride so late in the day.

I have driven to my hometown numerous times over the years, so it is no strange route to me. By now I am familiar with all the landmarks along the way. Several hours into the trip my strength and alertness were feeling the toll of the long day, but since I had made reservations up there for the night and it was already past the time to cancel it without a penalty, I was determined to continue on toward my destination.

As I drove along I noticed that I was seeing some things that I did not recognize, but when your eyes are that heavy a lot of things look odd, so I kept going. When I looked at the compass on the instrument panel it indicated that I was traveling south.

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That was rather puzzling since I wanted to travel north, but I figured it was just a curve in the road that caused the compass to read north; I continued on. Several minutes later I was still headed south; at that point I knew something was not right. I turned around, took the turn that I had missed ten miles up the road, which allowed us to arrive safely at our destination–at almost two AM.

That incident cost us thirty minutes extra travel, which might not be a lot of time, but at that time of night in my exhausted condition it was a pretty hefty price for a needless mistake. Thankfully the compass alerted me that I was headed down the wrong road, otherwise I might have wasted a lot more time. Paying attention to and responding to that information paid off.

At times in our spiritual journey through life we veer off the path that God has called us to travel, making it essential that we depend on Him to alert us when we start to drift in the wrong direction. Some of the paths that appear to be attractive and convenient might in reality be roads to destruction. We are instructed by Christ in Matthew 7:13-14 to “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (New International Version).

Just as paying attention to that little on-board compass pointed me in the right direction on our recent trip, keeping our hearts surrendered to Christ and following His teachings will guide us in the right direction spiritually. He always leads right; we need to be alert and careful that we do not veer off that spiritual path that He is guiding us to. Among the things that we hope to achieve in 2016, let us all make following His path for our lives our top priority.