Following My Father's Directions
Karen Ehman

"The Lord said, 'It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.'" Jeremiah 9:13 (NIV)

The car was packed; the gas tank full; a cooler stood chock-full of sandwiches for the long ride. This was it! My three kids and I were excitedly off on a summertime adventure. In the midst of a stressful and busy move and while waiting for the kids' bedrooms in the basement to be finished, we threw caution to the wind and took my friend Marybeth up on an invitation to join her at an ocean beachfront home she was being allowed to use for free.

Now this was no small undertaking. It was going to be a 17-hour trip with three kids in the car. Besides the necessities we needed to pack, most of all we needed directions. We had to see on paper just how to get from our little home in the middle of Michigan to sunny Ocean Isle, North Carolina, without getting lost!

Should be a piece of cake in this era of online sites that spit out detailed directions, right? Of course! So I printed them off, tucked them in a folder and revved up the car's engine. Before I left, however, my father called me. He winters near Ocean Isle and he wanted to give me verbal directions since he has traveled that course twice a year for the past 18 years and is very familiar with how to get there.

I reluctantly wrote down his instructions, complete with highways to avoid and exit names, etc. Then, I tossed the directions into the glove compartment. I thanked him for the gesture but assured him I probably wouldn't need it since I had the newest, slick Internet directions already. But "Father knows best!' he assured me. I smiled and headed off.

About half-way to our destination, I noticed that the exit number and name on the Internet's directions didn't match up. I began to panic. Should I take the exit number it gave or the exit name it listed? I chose the exit number. Soon after that, we became completely lost. None of the directions made sense any more. We got off the exit, headed back to where we'd made the turn and tried again.

But this way didn't work either! We were soon heading north instead of south and there wasn't an exit in sight for miles! When we finally got off, I popped into a gas station and asked for help. The attendant smiled and handed me a piece of paper with corrected directions already written on it. It seems that the Internet site does not completely have the directions. In fact, the station gets dozens of lost souls wandering into their establishment everyday longing just to get back on the right track. They were ready with printed directions to give out to such weary travelers.

Worried that the rest of my Internet directions might be wrong as well, I quickly fumbled through the glove compartment to find my father's handwritten instructions. I ran them by the gas station attendant. "Perfect!" he commented. My father knew the way without any wrong turns. "Just stick to your father's instructions and you won't be lost" I was told.

Like so much of life, we hear of new fangled shortcuts, ways to find happiness or even new paths for getting to heaven. Celebrities say they have found new spiritual dimensions or perfect peace in a New Age practice. We must resist the desire to trust these so called 'new ways' completely and instead follow our Father's original instructions: the Holy Bible. His ancient words ring true. He is the way, the ONLY way, and following His instructions will never result in our souls being lost.

Perhaps it is time we did away with the new and went back to the old. God's instructions are never wrong. They lead to peace and contentment and a home with Him in heaven forever. Why, that is even better than a week at the beach!

Dear Lord, help me to get and stay forever grounded in Your ancient instructions, the Bible. May I follow only Your holy ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

For more on following God, visit Karen’s blog

A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman

Application Steps:
What new ways does the world present for finding happiness or achieving eternal life?

How do these ways measure up to what the Bible says?

What are some actions I can take that will keep me grounded in God's Word? How can a friend help me in this endeavor?

Power Verses:
Psalm 16:11, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (NIV)

© 2009 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement and reminder to get grounded in God's Word...truly...Father knows best!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was so encouraging to me this morning. I felt very overwhelmed and anxious knowing all of the things that I had to do today. I sometimes get caught up in my life and I forget that God is in control and he is leading me in the right direction everyday. I love the bible verse for today! God loves us so much that he leads us in the right direction and along with that comes contentment and peace. It doesn't matter what we are facing, he will always see us through. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is wonderful analogy that "Father knows best" and keeping with God's word is the best direction to follow.

To help us remain in God's word we subscribe to HBO in my house. Holy Bible Only is our reference/reminder to seek God's truth and guidance, as well as, the key to building our relationship with Him.

Though not a fun experience it was good to see I am not the only one who struggles with internet mapping sights.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just this past week my family and I went on a trip. Fairly soon after leaving our home we found out the printed directions we got off of the internet weren't correct! I can not tell you how many times we passed the one exit we needed before we got to it correctly. It wasn't long after that my husband pulled over and got the good old road map out.

I heard on the Christian radio the other day how people are putting their trust in the GPS devices more than they are in what the road signs are saying. For example, a man ran his truck into a lake because the GPS said to go straight, even though he saw all the road signs saying "Dead End". I laughed hearing that, but felt bad last week on our trip.

Technology can be a good thing but at the same time it can be very frustrating.

I love how you tied everything together in "Father Knows Best". If only I would remember that when I see somethings hard and do it that way anyway. Even after feeling the Holy Spirit saying "No, this way." Thanks for the encouragement! I will have to remember this posting. Actually, I think I'll print it out and stick in my Bible. :)

Blogger Unknown said...

Those internet directions!! oh man.

Father knows best... I ♥ the analogy!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, our Father God does know BEST. Internet directions have failed and gps fail but God doesn't. His directions are always the same, always perfectly accurate. Great encouragement.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I knew where to locate this (not on youtube) but my church showed a funny video clip of a man bragging about his GPS. The driver and a friend were in a car, and the driver kept going on and on about how wonderful the GPS was. The friend kept questioning the GPS's accuracy, but the driver ignored him. Next thing you know the car ended up in a cornfield with a cow. The message was about following God's direction, not our own devices. This made me think of the video.

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