Saturday, December 24, 2005

The North Road

Our instructions to begin Day 2 were clear: "Go back to the place where the bus dropped you off. Then head due north out of town to start your route."

It sounded easy enough, other than the fact that our hotel was an uphill mile away from the original bus stop. After a hike that qualified as a little more than a warm-up, we found ourselves back at the drop-off point staring northward into a long, wide valley.

You would think we would jump right to it, but something held us back. We wondered if the place we got off the bus was the exact same as the one where our trainers had stopped. A false move here could lead us astray for the rest of the day and ultimately affect our plans to end up in our next city by nightfall.

We tried to make prayer the basis for our every decision, so we asked the Lord what he would have us do. We decided that this north road was the one to take. I received no direct revelation from God. I just figured that we had no other point of reference from which to begin. If we traveled in the right cardinal direction, I reasoned, the worst case scenario would be for us to anbandon our mission and find the main road where we could flag a bus to our next city.

While I was reasoning in my head (like I do so many times), Steve was listening with his heart for an answer to his prayer. He came up with the same conclusion, but he didn't arrive there by logic. He felt like the Lord was impressing him with an admonition to "follow the north road." Steve's revelation felt like the confirmation of my reasoning, and confidence that we were going in the right direction grew little by little. Small semblances of uncertainty still lingered in my head. I couldn't tell whether I was showing a lack of faith or receiving a holy unrest from the Lord, so I pushed my fickle feelings aside and trusted Steve's judgment.

It's funny how even on a trip like this, I was so quick to reason and slow to listen. Part of that comes from my unwillingness to cultivate a heart that waits on the Lord, and part of it comes from my prideful desire to take the reins of my life. That's why God brought me here, I think. To break the chains of self-dependence. In this land on a mission like this, if you're depending solely upon yourself, you won't get very far. I can't speak for Steve. I don't know if his revelation was perfectly clear and accurate. But I do know that Steve did a much better job at listening for the Lord's advice before moving.

And we moved in faith. With no landmark in sight, we let the Lord lead us full speed ahead along the North Road.

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