That’s why it’s dangerous when visibility diminishes and features in the landscape become hard to see. When this happens maps quickly lose their usefulness. Before long you can no longer locate your position and it becomes impossible to know which way to move. Being a good map reader doesn’t help. What is needed is a true navigator – someone who finds the way even when visibility is poor.
Sometimes we can feel lost in today’s changing world. It is difficult to know exactly where we stand, the landscape is unfamiliar and visibility is reduced. What was once predictable, stable and clear is now unpredictable, unstable and unclear. Even long held understandings about life face redefinition. Many no longer view birth, marriage and death in the traditional way as the debates around abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia show. And Globalisation and the communication revolution with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have changed the world forever. No wonder it is easy to feel lost in today’s landscape. The old maps don’t work anymore.
That’s why we need navigators. We may not need them on sunny days when all seems well with the world, but they are desperately needed when times are bleak and seasons change.
There are many Bible stories of great navigators, Moses for example. He led the people out of Egypt but without a map. They were led with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Moses listened to God, and the people escaped.
Then when Jesus sent his disciples on a missions training exercise (Luke 10) he told them to take nothing. Why? He wanted them to learn how God would provide and guide them. They returned excited and encouraged with increased faith in God and Jesus’ mission.
Throughout history whenever God’s people find themselves in a new world with an unfamiliar landscape, God is always there. Through people like Moses, God helps his people to navigate their way across unfamiliar terrain as they listen to his voice and pay attention to his instructions.
The same is true today. In our changing world God is still at work in our communities, our schools, our families and our businesses. God goes ahead of us even when the landscape is unrecognisable, when our maps are no longer useful and we feel lost. God is always faithful and will always be our guide.
Whatever we are going through, whether it is unfamiliar, difficult, or we feel lost, may we be encouraged to continue to trust God to lead us on.
Stephen L Baxter