"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
At the beginning of a new year, so often we reflect back on the past. With the start of a new decade, I found myself reminiscing about the past 10 years. Some of my fondest memories revolve around the road trips I used to take with my mom. On a whim, she’d book a hotel and say "let’s get away for the weekend." We would load up the car with good snacks and better CDs and hit the road. The only problem was, my mom has a terrible sense of direction, something she unfortunately passed down to me.
It was a guarantee that somewhere in the first few hours we would get lost and she would get frustrated. As my favourite author, Bob Goff says “Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal.” That can be easier said than done though. When we would eventually get lost, I’d chime in. “Mom! It’s just part of the adventure!” Now, when you’re lost and stressed on the backroads of the lower mainland with your teenage daughter, that’s not the most helpful statement, but it lightened the mood and changed our attitude enough to get us back on track. Eventually my dad got us a GPS for our road trips to try and avoid the frustration, and to try to keep us out of some of the sketchy places our “adventures” would lead us.
Once we got that GPS, it didn’t matter quite as much if we got sidetracked and went our own way while singing at the top of our lungs, because we could trust it to redirect us back to the right path. So often in life, we can get off our path. It’s so easy to do. Sometimes we don’t even notice we’ve made a wrong turn until we look up and have no idea where we are. Sometimes there are roadblocks that aren’t on our map when we planned our route. When we’re driving, we can put our hope in our NAV system to redirect us, but what do we do when life feels more like an ordeal than an adventure?
That’s when we need a big dose of hope. Thankfully, God gave us Jesus. He gave us a message of hope that we can trust in. He can be that GPS voice gently in the background, redirecting us back onto our path and giving us direction again, even when it doesn’t seem obvious. As it says in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
If I’m being honest, 2019 was the year I got lost. Really lost. I took some wrong turns, and hit a lot of road blocks I couldn’t have seen coming. It didn’t seem fair. I was doing all the right stuff, getting in the Word, listening to worship music, going to church, etc. It just felt like I couldn’t get a break, and before I knew it, everything felt like an ordeal. That’s the tough part about life, there’s no set route and inevitably hard things will come across our path. In those moments, God kept pointing me back to his Word. The Bible is full of examples of people living out those hard moments and trusting that God was with them. If you need a good reminder of this, look to Hebrews 11. When it feels impossible, we can trust that God is with us, trust that no matter how hard it gets, we don’t have to fear. We can have hope that He’s on the adventure with us.