Every year I order a box of peaches from my friend, Nancy, here in Goddard. The peaches actually come from Colorado and arrive in Cheney at Nancy’s aunt’s house. Cheney is a small town just southwest of us. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually driven to Cheney. Cheney Lake, yes – but not to the town of Cheney. Nancy has a job this year that was going to make it very hard for her to pick up everyone’s peach orders, so I offered to do it for her. She told me where her aunt lives – just a mile and a half west of Cheney, right off of MacArthur Road. Very easy to get to! And even for me, who is sometimes directionally challenged, Kansas driving has been so uncomplicated because of how flat the land is here. All the roads are pretty directly north, south, east, and west. No problem!
Or so I thought as I left my house the morning of pick-up and headed on my way to load up my van with 20 boxes of peaches for Nancy and her friends. This is so easy, I reasoned, that I don’t need my GPS system. I don’t even need to look at my navigation system on my Blackberry or check a paper map. I’ll just get on Highway 54 and go west to the Cheney exit, go south to MacArthur, and be there in no time. The day was bright and beautiful as I drove west on 54. I drove and drove, and drove some more – until I started feeling like I was surely farther west than I should be. Had I somehow passed the Cheney exit? Feeling unsure, I got off at the next exit and called a friend from Goddard that I was meeting later for lunch. No need to check a map, I thought. She wasn’t quite sure if I should continue west or head back east, so I chose to turn around and drive back east, retracing my “steps” as I carefully watched for the Cheney exit. No exit. OK, I thought, I’ll simply turn south and drive to MacArthur.
Several miles later found me, finally, on MacArthur. I was feeling a little silly but happy to finally be on my way. I had plenty of time to get there and claim our peaches. Then I saw the sign. Road closed ahead? Surely not! That must be a leftover from past road construction that the crew forgot to remove. On I drove, saw another sign, and soon came upon – the closed road. A bridge was being replaced, it appeared. The car behind me turned north onto a dirt road, so I followed. Now I could hardly see from the billowing dust that the car ahead of me was stirring up and my clean van was soon covered in brown dirt. I bumped north over that dirt road, came to another dirt road that went west, and yet another dirt road that took me south again back to MacArthur. Good grief! I was so happy to finally see the house with the long white fence and other cars there waiting for boxes of peaches. Except there were no peaches! Nancy’s uncle said that people were in line at 6:30 a.m. so when the truck came, the peaches sold within minutes. A wasted morning? Not really – because as I drove away I had time to think of how like my life this little escapade could somtimes be.
It’s so tempting to take off in a certain direction in life, not bothering to look at our road map, God’s Word – or to stop and ask our Navigator. Oh, we think, surely this decision or this activity is very clear-cut and right. What could possibly go wrong? It’s a benign endeavor with no implications, perhaps, or even something that is honorable or helpful to others. Maybe it’s a huge decision with major implications to us or others, but we “feel” like we know the right way to take and so we head off on our own down what seems to be the straight path. However, with no map and no clear directions it’s very easy to become confused. Have we gone too far or not far enough? Do we turn north or turn south? When the road suddenly closes and we face another decision, what should our answer be? How much better it is to take the time to pray, to read the clear map of God’s Word, and wait for His way to be shown to us. “Make me walk in the path of your commandments…..” as the Psalmist said in Psalm 119:35, for “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105