By Rev. Pete Hyde
The old car rolled to slow stop at a bleak and abandoned intersection literally in the “middle of nowhere.” The driver looked down at his quickly scribbled instructions. Had he come four miles or five? Perhaps it was only three because he was paying more attention to the talk show on the radio than keeping track of the miles. Only a couple of things were certain. He was going north out of town and he needed to turn west and travel five miles to get to his destination. But, he had lost count of how far he had gone. What now? There were not street signs on dirt and gravel section-line roads – only rows of wooden, barbed-wire fence posts heading in parallel rows in all four directions all the way to the horizon. A white-faced steer looks up from his lazy grazing like an old man looking up from his paper as he sits on the park bench and watches the tourists try to find their way through town. The old steer almost seemed to smile through his cud-chewing as the car sat at the cross-roads containing a confused, lost driver. Almost in desperation, the driver uttered a half-hearted prayer, “O Lord, which way am I supposed to go?” not really expecting an answer. The old steer just snorted and returned to his grazing.
We have all sat at lost, deserted, empty cross-roads having lost count of the miles we have traveled and not sure where to turn. We might have even scribbled a few notes to help us on our way, but even those have become more of a hindrance than a help. We sit lost and alone gazing to the horizon in all directions seeking just one point of familiarity – one thing that would give a clue of where we were and where were we were supposed to go. We have all uttered that prayer: “O, Lord which way am I supposed to go?” It might have been more of a statement made in anger and frustration. We may have not meant it as a prayer at all and uttered it as a rhetorical question. We may have not really been expecting an answer in any form. But, depending on the situation, the question may have been a true pleading with God to give us an answer and guide us in a decision at a critical cross-road of our life. We may have been at the point of throwing up our hands in desperation and anger at God or anyone who even looked the least bit like they cared and exclaimed at the top of our voice with our fist shaking in the air:
O LORD, WHICH WAY AM I SUPPOSED TO GO? You gave Moses a burning bush. You called Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water. You calmed a storm more than once. You fed the five thousand. You carried Jonah to Niniveh. You gave a clear message to the prophets. You told the disciples what was going to happen in Jerusalem. You say you know the number of hairs my head. You say you know when even a sparrow falls from the sky. Lord, I am sitting here at a cross-road not knowing which way to turn. Couldn’t you just tell me, show me, guide me? Why did you make this so difficult? You did it for others, why can’t you just do it for me?”
The worn, tattered bible on the front seat rustles in the wind. The noise distracts his ponderings and pleadings. He glances down at the open page. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men wills tumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles’ they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40: 28-31)
He quickly wipes a tear running down his cheek as an old battered pick-up pulls up next to him. “You lost?” “Boy am I lost!” was the reply. “Who you lookin’ for?” “I’m headed to the Haines’.”
“One more mile north, then west five. House is on the north side. White pick-up parked in the drive. Jack will be glad to see you!” The old, white-face steer picks up his head and almost smiles again, turns and ambles his way to a new spot in the pasture.
Rev. J. Pete Hyde, Senior Pastor
Santa Rosa Beach Community Church