Friday, November 4, 2011

Signs of Life

File:Circular Intersection sign.png

 You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God You're blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him.  That's right—you don't go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.  You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it.  Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; 
   Then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. 
   I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I'm going to do what you tell me to do; don't ever walk off and leave me.
(Psalm 119:1-8 The Message)

Have you ever stopped to really notice the signs that guide you along your journey everyday?  As I traveled to work yesterday, I took some time to actually notice as many of those sandwich boards as possible.  There were tons!  Then I added in the markings on the road that remind me that bicycle riders could be on my right in their own little lane.  Add to that the innumerable signs that prompted me to turn using a certain lane, not to park in a certain area, and get on the bus from this or that particular location, and I had not even made it to the freeway yet without being inundated with all kinds of "prompts" to act a certain way!

I recently traveled with a friend to Virginia and had the opportunity to rent a car there.  We explored parts unknown to both of us - relying heavily on the maps provided to us by the timeshare and AAA to identify the locations we wanted to explore.  Then we had the trusty GPS unit that we decided we needed to bring along.  That rescued us a few times!  But...there was one thing that we both noticed as we were driving along that I think might just give us all some opportunity for thought.

- The signs we are looking for are not always clear!  We would travel along, see a sign telling us to exit at a particular exit, but that exit had multiple ways to choose!  The sign directed us to get off the course we were on, but it did not give us clarity about the next course to choose!  Sometimes I think we were caught a little off-guard by the sudden change in course and the immediate action we had to take to get us on the next segment of our journey.  That is how life comes at us sometimes - not with a whole lot of clarity, lots of choices coming at us quickly, and us needing to be ready to "think on our feet" to make the best decision possible.  It is in the preparation we did BEFORE we left the timeshare that we found we made the best decisions when we got into one of these situations!  A little work AHEAD of time got us there safely.  The same is true in our walk with Christ - a little time spent getting to know his ways will yield great rewards when we are called on to make those "spur-of-the-moment" decisions of life!

- The signs don't always prepare you for what is ahead!  As we made some of these maneuvers through traffic, we were surprised to see that the "merge" lanes of the Virginia roadways were SO much shorter than those we are afforded in Arizona!  In my first attempt to merge into freeway traffic, my traveling companion held on with white knuckles, cried out my name in a loud voice, and had a look of terror cross her face that said it all!  I had expect a leisurely merge into the traffic only to find that I had about 100 or 200 feet to accomplish going from 35 to 60 in a 4-cylinder vehicle!!!!  Eeegads!  What my friend could not see was the traffic rapidly barreling my way.  She felt the sudden urging of the car to speed up, the quick maneuvers of my hands to steer us into the traffic, and then she and I gasped a sigh of great relief that we had lived to tell the story!  Guess what?  Life is kind of like that sometimes.  We don't get a whole lot of warning about what is coming next and we may have to "adapt" quicker than we'd feel comfortable with.  When that happens, we sometimes experience a little sense of "panic" that causes us to be alert to what lies ahead AND what is coming at us quicker than we'd ever imagined!  That "panic" is what should drive us to Jesus.  

- The signs sometimes don't exist!  We took a journey our last day there - following every turn of the GPS faithfully, only to find ourselves deep into a very cheerful neighborhood of military families!  We were on a quest to find some type of caves or caverns that the GPS reported was right there where it announced, "You are arriving at your destination".  Ummm...unless the neighbors had them cleverly concealed, they were nowhere to be found!  There are times we honestly believe we are setting out in the right direction, following all the "turns" of life correctly, and at the end, we find ourselves deep into something we had not expected!  Forrest Gump had it right when he compared life to a box of chocolates - we really don't know what we are going to get!  All we can do is trust the one that watches over our lives with such care that each journey matters.  We did not get to see the caverns that day, but we did get to see some pretty country, enjoy some time just chatting with each other, and then we ended the day with Prime Rib!  Not a bad journey!

So, just some lessons about the "signs" we encounter in life.  Hope your "heeding" the signs and "preparing" for the journey.  See you on the road!