"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."
We left the train station in Copenhagen, Denmark early one morning in June, 1999. We had taken a night train from Berlin to save a hotel bill. It becomes daylight that far north, that time of year about 3 a.m., and stays light until after midnight.
I had noticed on a city map we should turn right out of the exit of Copenhagen Central Station to go wherever we were going. I do not recall exactly where that was, but considering the time of day, it was probably breakfast.
When roaming around Europe, I usually consider the architecture to be most important, but the history, art, landscape, and of course the people are high priority. Castles and cathedrals are high on the must-see list.
After walking about half a mile, we realized, we were not heading in the right direction. We went back to Central Station to start over. Walking back to the train station, I could see we had come out a different exit than what I thought.
Since then, I haven't taken a trip without a compass. Knowing which way is north sure comes in handy at times. I remember the first time I was in New York. During the day, when I could see the sun shine and shadows on the buildings, I was always able to find my way. When darkness fell, I was totally lost.
Recently, Margie and I were on Guernsey Island in the town of St. Petros, off the coast of France. We wandered into the town and were soon lost on the winding and narrow, hillside streets. Actually, we were not lost; we just could not tell exactly which way to go on that cloudy day.
Not to worry, I had my trusty compass. When we left the seaport, I checked a map and saw where we headed west so the port was east of us. We were looking for a castle on the north side of the town. I said to her, "Let's go this way (north)." She asked, "Why?" I said, "Trust me." Of course, that went over like a lead balloon.
To lose direction in any city can be a problem. I learned long ago to avoid residential areas if possible. When traveling in other countries, the best advice I can give is, take a compass and duct tape. When arriving, exchange currency, get a local map and learn how to use the public transportation. If the city has a subway, they are usually very efficient and easy to negotiate, but you don't see much from underground. Ground travel between cities in many countries is best by train. Busses are fairly reliable in most countries.
To lose direction in life is as common and likely as in Paris or London. It seems to be easier to find your way back in a city than in life. This is simply because most of us try to find our way back on our own. In some cities, we may not speak the language, but God always speaks our language.
I started to ask, "Have you ever lost your direction in life?" But that would be a ridiculous question because everyone has. It certainly appears the opportunities in today's world to lose direction are abundant. We become so preoccupied with our bad habits and interests we lose sight of God and the church.
Church attendance, or lack of, seems to be a first step for many in loosing direction. It is really easy to skip a Sunday or two and pretty soon, it becomes easy to stop going altogether.
I find myself thinking I'm really busy and neglecting my Bible study. A verse that comes to mind here is Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." I find myself trying to reason with God to figure out why something may have happened a certain way.
On a recent trip, a storm in Orlando delayed our flight and completely destroyed our trip to Iceland. I tried to determine why this happened. Finally, I had to accept that God had a reason.
The loss of direction that must be addressed here is losing sight of Jesus. I once saw a sign that said, "If you've lost sight of God, who moved?" Our indiscretions are completely on us.
We live in a world where most everyone is looking for someone to blame. In some cases there may be another person, circumstance or situation to blame, but most of our troubles begin with us.
As we age, most of us realize, we must take responsibility for our actions (or inactions). A personal system of accountability must exist for us to continue. I really wish I could say there's a one-size-fits-all answer to this. But at times there are those events in our lives that cannot be repaired with human hands.
We worked prison ministries and long ago saw that God is a much better rehabilitator than any state or social institution. God can turn lives around when we cannot. Most Christians believe in the power of prayer. Matthew 6:8 "Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knows what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."
Go ahead, try it, give your problems to God. He's always there, willing to listen and solve our problems. And He always speaks our language.