Spiritual Life

Getting lost is one thing, but staying lost on the road of life is another

“Why are you turning here?” my wife asked.

“It’s a shortcut, don’t worry,” I assured her. “I know where I am going.”

Famous last words. An hour or so later, after zigzagging through miles of orchard-covered hills, I was gritting my teeth and continuing to insist that I knew a very effective shortcut to get us to our important meeting.

“We’re already late,” she said. “Why won’t you just admit that we’re lost?”

I didn’t have a solid answer.

It’s a question for the ages, isn’t it? When we find ourselves lost, why don’t we just admit it?

For me, it usually involves not wanting to concede that I might be wrong. Getting lost is dangerous enough, but staying lost because of pride can end in disaster, especially on the road of life.

Every man or woman who has ever lived has been lost on some level. It goes with the territory of being human.

It might have been on a mountain trail, a city street at night, or in some unfamiliar neighborhood. But then again, we can be lost without going anywhere at all. We can lose our way on a career path or on the aisle of marriage hopes and dreams.

Sometimes people get lost because they simply refuse to follow directions.

When our children were small, we taught them that if we ever became separated — whether on a mountain or in a mall — they were to go back to the last place where we were together.

“Hug a tree, a lamppost, or a cement column,” we told them. “Don’t panic, and we will find you.”

Unfortunately, what many people do is to immediately panic when they lose their bearings. It seems that the more lost people become, the harder they run.

Life is a series of unexpected twists and turns, mid-course corrections and unanticipated adjustments. We need help, guidance, and direction. And frankly, if I have a choice between taking my cue from a compass, a map, a GPS device or a living guide who personally knows the way, I am going with the guide.

We all put our faith in something to direct us or someone to guide us. It’s not a matter of if, but in whom or what we place our trust.

In the Gospel of John chapters 14-16, you will find a record of Jesus’ talk on the night before he would give his life for the sins of the whole world. In a tender farewell to his followers, Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to everyone who would call on him for salvation. This Holy Spirit would be our Comforter, Helper and Guide through all of life (John 16:13).

Looking back on times in my life when I’ve made some major wrong turns, I now realize that there is a thin veneer between pride and insecurity. Both are dead ends.

Stubbornness and an unwillingness to listen only made me run harder. But when I exercised a little humility and asked for directions or help, it turned out better for me and everyone else who was with me.

Jesus said in John 14:6 (NLT), “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

When you think about it, who (deep down) doesn’t long for those three things? The “Way” to go, the “Truth” to know, and the “Life” to grow.

My family still enjoys a good laugh over my infamous “shortcuts.” And I’ve learned a bit from my mistakes. But don’t take my word for it, ask the Guide.

Rev. Micah Smith is president and founder of Global Gateway Network globalgatewaynetwork.org with offices in Richland. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email lluginbill@tricityherald.com.