I dropped someone off at their home recently in a part of town I am not really familiar with. I had a lot on my mind and was deeply engrossed in thought. It was about 10 o’clock at night, and I was anxious to get home. I had been driving what seemed about 10 minutes when a thought shot through my mind like a laser. I had absolutely no idea where I was.
It was a barn that told me I was way, way off the path home. I turned around, convinced I had missed my turn only a mile or so down the road. Except it wasn’t the right road. I knew I was going west, but after three miles, it was plain that I was totally lost. Every mile, I was getting deeper out into the country. No lights anywhere.
How in the world had I ended up there? Where had I gone wrong? I turned around again, thinking I had missed a north/south highway that would get me to I-94. Except there was no north/south highway. Was this the Twilight Zone? I had been deeply engrossed in thought, but never had I been lost like this. Driving back the other way again, I was completely baffled, not seeing anything that looked remotely like it should.
There wasn’t even a highway sign that told me what I was driving on. I turned on a small, unknown road that went north and stayed on that for a while. Nothing but more darkness and farm land. I felt a prickle on the back of my neck. This was just bizarre.
I turned back to get on the other road that at least was bigger and decided to stay on that. Finally, there was another, larger road going north that looked like it might lead somewhere besides a dead end. Lights ahead. Aha. Civilization. Suddenly, a massive church loomed out of the darkness. But that was a shock. It looked like the big Catholic church on the southernmost end of town! Now I was really worried. How did I get home from there, and how in the world had I ended up so far off my way home?
I pulled into the parking lot of the church and then started laughing. It wasn’t the church I thought it was. I knew this church and it was only half a mile from the Interstate.
Greatly relieved, I got on the freeway, mulling over how such a silly thing had happened. I had made a wrong turn, clearly, but just how off I was didn’t hit me until I looked at a map of the area after I arrived safely home. One wrong turn in the dark, and I had been hopelessly lost. Were it not for that large, well-lighted church, I probably would have turned around again and been more lost than ever.
It occurred to me how very much this is like our culture. Lacking any moral and spiritual landmarks, society is wandering around, headed hopelessly towards disaster. No landmarks for morality, no clear view of our Creator, and the result is confusion that oozes from the headlines every day. A nation lost in the dark.
A country is made up of individuals, and the overall state of the country is the result of a complete lack of moral/spiritual landmarks. We are driving around on dark roads, thinking we know best, but we really don’t. All the while, we are either going in circles or headed towards the abyss. That church, looming up in the gloom, was a landmark to me. It showed me the right road to take. I had something sure and fixed in my mind.
That is what the Word of God is in our times. We are not left to guess about God’s design for the family, about what is expected of us, and we are not left alone to fulfill what is required of us. We have Jesus, the One who lived perfectly for us on our behalf, and who took the penalty for our sin for us. Without that landmark, we live deluded lives, driving around, thinking we know the right way. We do not.
I am grateful for the Solid Rock, the landmark of God’s Word that tells us of Jesus Christ. In the darkness of our times, the Word of God is also a bright light to our path. If we are wise enough to heed its message, its Author, God himself, will see us safely home.