Sunday, January 8, 2017

Finding Safe Passage

Be careful in the coming days regarding the decisions you make and where you allow those decisions to lead you. What seems obvious can actually be a danger hidden within a false hope. Trust the Spirit, not the practical sounding advice you receive from your co-travelers or the reports of success from a previous journey. Some of the invitations coming your way have the potential to be fatal detours where sorrow, not joy, will be the outcome.

I live in the coastal mountain range of southern Oregon. This region has become a death trap in the winter to unsuspecting travelers. With the advent of map apps on smart phones and in-car navigational systems, people are relying more and more on this map data to find their way around road closures during winter storms. The secondary roads through the mountains are great to travel during the summer, but can trap motorists in deep snow miles from rescue during the winter months. Some travelers have not returned from these fatal detours. It happened again this weekend when a monster storm dropped record snowfall in our area. Several cars became stranded near the summit when they attempted to take a detour on a secondary road using Apple Maps after our freeway was closed. Thankfully, they were rescued.

The problem with these map apps is their convenience.  They provide an easy way for a weary or frustrated traveler to keep moving forward. They feed our impatience. In the summer the apps could lead you over a grass-lined mountain road with flowers blooming and birds singing. In the winter the deepening snow and the false hope of eventual passage lures a traveler to cross a point of no return where they become stuck and put themselves and their passengers in peril.

There is a spiritual application to this map-reading issue. Your way forward in times of frustration or fatigue needs to be investigated by the Spirit, not by your emotions. Put aside your need to continually move forward. Sometimes the wisest thing to do is stop, wait and listen.

Do not trust routes that worked in the past. This requires no faith. You are in a different season. Strong storms are moving across your spiritual landscape. Pull over in the Spirit and wait. It will be hard to do when you see others gleefully taking these untested routes. You will want to join them. Waiting and trusting will be your act of faith. It will save you from unplanned heartache and disappointment. Everything God has promised for you at your destination will be there waiting for you when you finally arrive. You just need to arrive, not die emotionally or spiritually in the journey from a lack of wisdom.

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