When was the first time you trusted Jesus?
I mean REALLY trusted Him?
Our pastor shared a story with us this Sunday.
He went out hunting a few times this week, on a piece of property he isn't that familiar with. But he knew that when he walked out from where he parked his car, he would get to a point in the path where he had to do was start walking due east and he would land right at a huge pine tree, where his stand was.
He got up early, left his vehicle, made sure he had his compass in his pocket and his head lamp with him. He headed down the path and eventually got to the point where the path forked. He pulled out his compass, turned on the lamp and then realized he had a problem.
He didn't have his reading glasses with him.
He stood there for a long time, trying to decide which little letter on the dial was east and which was west. He tried to decipher the little illuminated markers around the dial... made his choice and started walking.
Pretty soon.... well you know what happened.
He came to a spot he had never seen before. There was this road cutting through the woods, probably an old fire trail. He walked up and down it for a few moments, his blood pressure rising. He could hear the sound of the highway, but couldn't quite tell where it was. It was cloudy so he couldn't get his bearings from the sun.
And there he stood. His frustration at himself rising,
He realized then, so this is what it feels like to be lost.
Then something happened.
An angel appeared.
Well, ok, not an angel per se, but another hunter in blaze orange walked out of the woods into the clearing. When our pastor explained what had happened, the other hunter pointed out that he had walked north east, not straight east. He pointed him back towards the southwest, and our pastor found his way home.
He knew where home was. He was lost, and needed someone to point him in the direction of home.
You see, he was raised in the church, so he never before really felt "lost" before, or the desperate need for a Savior, for someone to point him in the right direction, to show him the path.
He asked us to think back and remember, if we could, what it was like when we were lost. Did we realize our desperate state right away? Did it take a crisis to realize it?
I was walking along fine in the woods of high school, had a general idea of the path to go, into college, graduate with a music ed degree and then teach. As I reached the end of high school, graduated, and looked ahead to going into college, I still thought I could figure my way out.
I got into college and loved the courses I had, but was lost in the "woods" of people with no connection to anyone. I was completely alone, wasn't sure of my way anymore or if I was headed the right direction.
Then through some equally lost friends, inviting me to be part of a Christian musical, Jesus found me and pointed me in the right direction. I trusted Him to know the way better than I did. He led and I followed, knowing without being told much about Him right away, that He knew what He was talking about.
It didn't mean that the bumps were taken out of the path, or that the branches didn't grab at me or stumps and logs trip me up. But it did mean that I always have had a compass with which to take a good sighting and find the path again toward home.
As long as I trust my Compass, I will always go the right way.
So, what happened to make you realize you were lost in the woods? Are you still? Do you need to just trust that Person who has stepped out of the woods to show you the right direction to go?
May this be your first Advent of Trust, or may you renew your trust in a new, deeper way.