Last Saturday, after being cooped inside for a week due to the wintry weather, Jason and I decided to take the dogs on a long hike. Tippy was restless, and Mitch was practically climbing the walls. Yes, a hike was what they needed.
Let me first say that hiking in snow is much more taxing than hiking on solid ground. My legs are still sore from the constant action of slugging through the snow and engaging my stabilizing muscles. Nevertheless, the view was breathtaking, and the day was pleasant. All in all, we had a wonderful (albeit tiring) journey.
On our way back out, we met up with a man who was standing to the side of the trail. He was shaking and beating on his hand-held GPS. During our discussion with him, he told us that the trail was longer than he had expected, and he was looking to find a shortcut back to the parking area. He was trying to use his GPS to route a path through the woods, hoping to cut some distance off his return journey. Unfortunately for him, the batteries in his GPS were dying. Being certain he was headed in the right direction, he decided to risk the shortcut without his GPS. I'm happy to say that we met up with him at the parking lot. He emerged from the woods at the exact same time we did. Apparently, his shortcut was not that short. What a lesson!
Many times in life, we are certain what God wants us to do, so we set off in that general direction hoping that we'll find a shortcut to get us to our destination sooner. There's nothing wrong with shortcuts, mind you, but shortcuts without a GPS can be risky and dangerous. The same is true with shortcuts in our spiritual walk. We mustn't rely on our own plans, ideas, or directions (especially those of us who couldn't find our way out of a paper bag). We need to rely on our GPS: God's Positioning System.
When traveling, it's not enough to know the destination. We must have directions. Often, we feel we know a better way of reaching our spiritual goals. God's ways can seem unclear, confusing, and sometimes, just plain wrong. So, we forsake His directions in favor of our own. The outcome? Disaster. Yes, shortcuts without a GPS tend to not be short at all. In fact, they usually lead to trouble. Trouble that could have been avoided if we had just followed the Lord's will.
I read a powerful quote in a devotional this morning. It read, "God has taught me that He wants my spiritual ears more than my spiritual efforts." In other words, God wants me to listen to Him and follow His directions for my life instead of trying to plot out my own course. He knows what's best for me. He knows which shortcuts are safe and which ones are trouble. He knows the plans He has for me, so who better to direct me?
Are you struggling down the path today looking for shortcuts to reach your spiritual goals? If so, stop struggling. Turn to your GPS, and follow it's guidance. I assure you it will never lead you astray, and you'll not need to concern yourself with dead batteries!