Finding our way there

I remember, shortly after turning 16, driving to Indianapolis for the first time on my own. I’d been there a thousand times with my mom — granted, I’d always trusted my parents to navigate while I sat in the passenger seat with my nose buried in a book — but how hard could it be? You get in the car, head in that general direction, and in about 45 minutes, voilá! We’d be there. Easy.

Well, on my first solo trip, I managed to find my favorite mall easily enough, but getting back home was another story. It didn’t make sense to me that I’d have to take a road marked “Peoria, IL” to get to Ladoga, IN. I drove for a while, and I knew I was in the wrong place, but I didn’t know where the right place was. This was before cell phones and GPS. We couldn’t count on someone else to guide us. We had to find the way on our own. (Or, like I did, stop at a pay phone and call for help.)

Sometimes I find myself along for the ride at church. Yeah, of course I can find that sweet spot in worship when I’m in a roomful of people who are all headed to the same place. I can do my own thing, look up every once in a while and notice the landmarks, and coast along until we arrive at the throne. But what happens when I’m on my own? Can I get there myself? Do I know how to find God when I’m the one doing the driving? Can I find Him using my own directions, or do I prefer to ride in the passenger seat, trusting that our pastors or worship leaders will get us to our destination? It’s easy to believe that we can do it ourselves…until we try it. And then we discover that it’s harder than it looks. So worth it, so worth the effort and time and focus and concentration it takes — absolutely. But harder than we thought. The good news? Once we’ve been there once, the next time is easier, and before long, getting there is second nature.

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