When You Can’t See the Path

Sitting at O’Hare waiting for replace to plane to arrive.

I was up at 5am to get to the airport. I’m going to see my parents and some of my siblings! It’s a short visit, but I need to see them. The plane was late departing. I fell into a deep sleep. Half way to the Michigan, the intercom woke me up with: we have to return to Chicago for maintenance. I thought maybe it was a dream. Everyone was so quiet and not talking, so I really didn’t know if the 18 minutes to landing was for Saginaw or Chicago! It wasn’t a dream. We landed back at the same airport we left. United has been good keeping us informed. Will we re-board, re-book or get a new plane? We’re getting a new plane but it has to fly here, so I’m sitting in the airport, thinking.

Coming back to Chicago we were above the clouds. They look much more interesting from above with lots of texture and complex formations. Then we began the descent down into the clouds.

Remember I’m not sure where we would land, so I had no idea of NESW or land/water. We were flying in a cloud, with no visual landmarks.

From the ground we just see gray skies, no sun, no blue. On the plane we trust the laws of gravity, but we don’t know our position in the air. We are putting our trust in the pilot, the navigation system and beacons and aviation control. They know where we are, how high, what the problem is, and then decide the best decision for passenger safety.

Sometimes in life we can’t see where we’re going. The path is foggy and we can barely see landmarks along the way. We wonder if we’ve gotten lost, taken the wrong path or even left the path. We can feel lost, without purpose or direction, wondering if we should just sit down and wait for someone to find us.

You likely know where I’m headed. God is our co-pilot. He knows the path and how to get to our destination. And if we’re lost, He is with us to prompt us or lead us back to the path. He has better radar; He is the ultimate “aviation controller” in our lives.

I’ve been in that place where I haven’t a clue where I’m going (emotionally, spiritually) and I just wanted to sit down, retreat from life, and wait for someone to care. This is a problem that God is excels in solving! He looks for the lost sheep and returns them to the fold. He cares for us and helps us get back on the path.

I am so thankful for this! I can trust Him to get me to the right place. Just like I had to trust the pilots knew where they were going, I have to trust that God is more than able to get me where He has planned for me to be.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭ESV‬


Where is the “there” we are to return from?

Deut 4:29 NLT

Where is the “there” we are coming from? Because from “there” if we search again, we will find the LORD our God.  This is part of a section in Deuteronomy called A Warning Against Idolatry where Moses is instructing the Israelites.  The verse before this one says:

“There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Worshiping idols made from wood and stone, in today’s terms, could mean idols made of material, or man-made things, as well as elements of the created world. “There” is in a foreign land, a land far away from the LORD our God.

Idolatry is defined in Websters as:  the worship of a picture or object as a god. A thing. An object. Maybe a person. Maybe a feeling. Maybe even a drug, or experience. Some have said it could even be ourselves. Putting ourselves first could be a form of idolatry.

It begs the question, who is an idolator? Who worships idols made of wood and stone? There are a LOT of verses about idols in the Bible, but in Romans, Paul says this:

“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”  Romans‬ ‭1:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

They traded the truth about God for a lie. “There” could be the lies we believe. They worshipped and served the things God created. “There” could be the love and attention we pay to things around us, the things we desire, or the creation, and not the Creator.

My thought is that “there” is any place but God’s Presence. It could also be that “there” is anything we do that doesn’t bring glory to God.

It could be that “there” applies to prodigals, or even those not living a life according to God’s commandments. It easier to think of “there” as not where I am.  I am here, in God’s Presence, because I went to church and worshipped Him yesterday.

But what if “there” is where I go several times a day. When I lose patience. When I don’t cherish every life. When I stray from the commandments. When I lose hope. When I doubt. When I say unkind or untrue things.

That is when the second, marvelous, part of the verse comes in. Hope renewed, doubt cast out, grace abounding, the fruits of the Spirit overflow. Because, ” if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.”  Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29‬b ‭NLT‬‬

No matter where “there” is, no matter where you have strayed, no matter how far you have strayed or how long, no matter if you’ve never found the LORD our God before, if you search for him with ALL your heart and soul, you WILL find him.

He promises this. And He is a God who is faithful, and patient, and righteous, about all of his children. And you, me, our neighbor, our leaders, even those who hate us, are his children.

Pray that those who are “there” will begin to seek God with all their hearts and souls. Pray they will find God, and choose to worship Him. Forever.