A guide to get you where you’re going

No one really uses maps anymore. At least, so it would seem.

I’m not talking about the application on your phone, either. Most of us use that from time to time. I’m talking about an actual paper, hard copy, chart your course and go map.

They used to be standard equipment in a vehicle for a trip covering any real distance. I still see paper maps occasionally, usually when we stop at rest stops while traveling. Most states still offer complimentary maps as a courtesy to travelers. In my personal experience, the only people who take said maps are bored passengers and preteens who are fascinated by these relics from days gone by.

At this juncture in history, though, who really needs them? The ubiquity and functionality of GPS-enabled devices has essentially rendered paper maps unnecessary in most cases. With the simple push of a button, our devices provide us with extremely accurate turn-by-turn directions to guide us from Point A to Point B and anywhere we might want to go in between.

As I was traveling by myself recently, it struck me how much navigation has changed in the last decade or so. I’m just old enough that I can remember the days of driving down the highway at a brisk 55 mph, all while trying to manipulate and read a map on the steering wheel. Turns out distracted driving isn’t as new as we’d like to think.

I very much appreciate the efficiency and effectiveness of my GPS device. It provided me with very detailed instructions about which lane I needed to use in order to take the exit I needed to keep me on the fastest route available to my desired destination.

There is, however, a part of me that misses the days of looking at a map and trying to chart the course for myself. I will often zoom the image on my phone out so that I can see the larger picture of the map. I enjoy seeing where I’ve been and where I’m going. Map or GPS, though, both serve the same purpose of keeping me on the right road and getting me where I’m going.

Whenever I think of maps, I think of my youth pastor from when I was in high school. He was very into the outdoors and still to this day leads trips into the wilderness of Canada. In that context, a map was an extremely important tool, and he took the time to teach us how to read the map and guide the group from one spot to another.

At our graduate recognition, I remember him saying, “Every traveler needs a sturdy walking stick and a good map to get them where they’re going. This morning, we’re providing you with both.” Then as each of us made our way across the platform, he handed us a brand-new study Bible. It’s a moment that has stuck with me all of these years, and it’s a line that I’ve quoted numerous times over the years as I’ve recognized graduates myself.

Life is a journey. It’s a phrase that is so widely used that it has become incredibly cliché, but it is undeniably true. We are all travelers making our way through life. There are countless paths, intersections and destinations that lie before us. It is so easy to get distracted or diverted as we go and find ourselves lost and looking for direction.

When I find myself feeling a little off-course, I remember the words of my mentor, and I remember the words in the Bible he gave me. Psalm 119:9 reads, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your Word.”

We’ve yet to develop the technology that can provide us with turn-by-turn directions for dealing with each moment of life. We do, however, have a map that can guide us and direct us as we make our way through life.

So as you make your way along the path before you, take a few minutes to take a look at the map that is the Bible and adjust course as needed.

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