JUST FOLLOW THE LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

Many new cars come with a free GPS (Global Positioning System) with purchase. Even if you’re born with an inner compass and natural sense of direction, GPS can be reassuring when traveling to unfamiliar areas. 

The other day I found myself in need of the GPS to guide me to my daughter-in-law’s apartment in Eugene, Oregon.  I have two grandkids that I cherish, but this was my first visit to their new digs.  She gave me directions which made sense to her.  But, it seemed to me the directions were unnecessarily complicated.  I decided to try a simpler route.  Taking control of the task, I searched for her house, but proceeded to get lost.  Disoriented and psyche bruised, I shifted to GPS for rescue.  After putting the address in my iPhone’s GPS app, I yielded to the instructions.  For at least a moment or so.  As the GPS voice began spouting off directions, I stubbornly questioned where I was being told to go. I recalled another instance when I ignored GPS directions, ending up getting lost and late for an appointment.  All because I was sure I knew better than the GPS.  I finally relinquished my prideful “inner compass” and followed GPS.  I made it to my daughter-in-law’s apartment, waving to her and my grandkids as I approached a parking space.  I recall thinking in that moment, I’ll never tell anyone about how stubborn I was to lean into my own prideful ineptitude over GPS!

Driving home later that day, I reflected on the incident, had a vicarious laugh, but soberly acknowledged, “how often have I taken that same prideful stance with God”?  When the Holy Spirit has led me in a specific direction, I’ve sometimes rebelled and selfishly followed my own compass. Was I fearful of God’s road taking me too far from my comfort zone?  The narrower road for spiritual growth requires trust and faith.  An unnatural practice in the common man that pursues certainty. 

Psalm 16 is referred to as a “psalm of confidence.” In the psalm, David tells of God’s goodness toward him. He testifies that the Lord is his teacher and gives him good advice. He declares, "You are my Lord. Without you, I don't have anything that is good".

This psalm was written at a time of upheaval in David’s life. Saul was in pursuit of him, even though he had done nothing wrong against him. The prophet had anointed him to be king, yet he found himself as an outcast and a fugitive of Israel. He must have wondered why this was happening to him. His own men told him he should kill Saul when he came into the cave where they were hiding. But, David knew it was not God’s plan for him to take the kingdom by his own strength. He tells Saul he could have killed him, but chose to let God judge him instead (1 Samuel 24:12-14).

David trusted God alone, no matter the circumstances, no matter the outcome. At the conclusion of Psalm 16 he pronounces, “You always show me the path that leads to life. You will fill me with joy when I am with you. You will give me endless pleasures at your right hand”.

Often a Christian’s walk leads to the proverbial “fork in the road”, requiring spiritual discernment to know God’s direction. While the sacrificial spiritual road may encounter obstacles, copious pot holes, or construction delays, God’s ways are purposeful.  Just like David, listening to God’s advice and counsel ensures protection and prosperity.

I will guide you and teach you the way you should go. I will give you good advice and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8).

He will never lead us down the wrong route or leave us when the road gets rough. Although we may not always understand why he steers us on a particular road, we can be confident that He knows how to get us safely to our final destination.

Just like a car’s GPS, no matter how many wrong turns we’ve taken, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made, the Father’s love moves us towards the light of His destination. 

Detours arrive often without warning or explanation.  Nobody has a smooth, paved road without intersections of suffering and pain.  Top three detours along my life’s roadmap:

1.  April 1976 – motorcycle accident when a truck failed to yield at a traffic light resulting in permanent right arm paralysis

2.  April 1996 – survivor of stage 4 oral cancer, but surgery and radiation sustained life amidst permanent damage to salivary glands, esophageal webs, tooth decay, partial tongue paralysis, and neck deformity

3.  April 2016 – unconstitutional “no-fault divorce” assault on my marriage covenant

What sustains us through this earth-trauma is God’s word of truth, protection, and prosperity.  The armor of faith in God’s word bridges Heaven’s mercies to Earth:

·       Matthew 11:28-29
Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.

·       James 1:12
Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.

·        Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.

·       Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.

Another GPS nuance came through the awakening of God’s spiritual gifts within me.  A heart for God’s Passionate Service (GPS) to shape my life’s purpose while plowing through adversity.  The universe is a tug-of-war between God’s light and Evil’s darkness.  Just follow the light in the darkness.  While going through my own trials, experiencing these competing spheres, I discovered a break-through spiritual principle: 

Emerging through darkness into God’s light of hope, a vision for an internet platform was revealed to me 16 months ago: LovesIntention.  The mission is to inspire generous, kind and compassionate volunteer service in communities.  Cultivating the heart’s goodness to share time, talents, and resources to buoy and heal people in their broken places. LovesIntention was launched on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2016.

Anyone who has unselfishly helped someone in need or contributed to a worthy cause understands the indescribable rewards in the heart.  “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (I Corinthians 13:13).

LovesIntention postulates that within every person is a God given spirit yearning to exercise charity.  Through an intentional action to invest goodwill, generosity, and compassion, there’s clarity of purpose, and the giving and receiving of love.

The most life-transforming truth as a believer in Christ is the reality that even in the darkest moments of sin and personal brokenness, we stand in holy light, blameless before God, fully forgiven, without a single fault.  God’s LovesIntention!

My current LovesIntention volunteer venues:

1.  Brookdale Memory Care’s volunteer poet and Wildlife Safari bus driver’s aid

2.  Mercy Health Hospice team’s volunteer

3.  Riverview Terrace Retirement Center’s volunteer

4.  Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center’s volunteer dog handler

5.  Free firewood for the needy harvested from my property

6.  Roseburg Rescue Mission’s volunteer speaker

7.  Roseburg Homeless Transition Action Group’s volunteer

8.  SquareOne Villages’ volunteer, Emerald Village Eugene, a 22 tiny house community

Life's purpose travels through our discovery of passion; unveiling an unabashed drive to "show-up" with God given talents; and mark a spot in the world that “We Served Here”. Love with abandonment to shed light where no shadow or corner finds solace in darkness.