But they soon forgot what [God] had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
Psalm 106:13 (NIV)
Years ago I enjoyed the adventure of sailing across Lake Superior at night in a storm. By the time my partner and I took our shift at the helm we were far from the sight of land. With the storm pouring rain and wind over us, even the stars and moon were cloaked from view. I could not see the direction of the next wave that would buffet our boat. I could see nothing but the light of compass that sat just in front of the wheel as I held the ship’s course. Having been given the correct compass heading by our captain, I constantly fought to keep the ship headed in the right direction. We sailed through the blackness and I had to trust that if I maintained the proper course we would reach our destination safely.
Over time I have come to learn that there is an unveiling of the path as you progress in life’s journey. God’s message is spoken of as a foot lamp. It give us enough light for the next step on our current path, but we cannot see where the path is leading nor what is coming on the horizon. Like the compass on our night crossing of Superior, we often find ourselves making our way through darkness with nothing more than a compass heading.
There is no comprehensive map for life, though we may try to divine what will happen tomorrow or next year in all sorts of ways that range from the silly, to the spiritually unhealthy and delusional. Those who follow Jesus are on a faith journey and the point is not knowing but believing. The captain has given us a compass heading and our job is to hold course through the dark of night and through the wind and waves which constantly threaten to push us off course.
Sometimes we, like the people of Israel referenced in today’s psalm, get impatient for the plan to unfold and start setting our own course. My experience is that when we do this we tend to find ourselves lost at sea. Today, I’m acknowledging the reality that I have no idea what lies ahead. I can’t see beyond the bow of the boat most days let alone what’s coming up on the horizon. God’s message is my compass heading, and my Captain has assured me that if I hold course I will ultimately find myself safely in harbor.