A Lost Map
I love maps. There are three maps on the wall in my living room; one map for each of the most significant places in my life. In my church office, there is a map of the Roanoke Valley that reminds me of the place that God has called me to serve.
Maps give order to a chaotic world. Maps help us make plans to avoid trouble spots. Maps remind us of the significance that place holds in our lives. Despite all of these great features, God, in His infinite wisdom, did not give His people a map.
Spend a minute looking at the attached map. Notice the route the Israelites took to the promised land following their escape through the Red Sea. With a good map and reliable compass, it is at most a month or two walk from the Red Sea’s shores to the promised land. Yet, for God’s people, it was a forty-year journey of walking and waiting. On a map, the route looks strange, and by time standards, it proved woefully inefficient. The Israelites, however, were not using a map.
The Israelites were following a guide, and that guide was the very presence of God. They followed a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. The goal was not merely to make it to the promised land. The goal was to be with God, and God was staying in the wilderness. God would eventually lead them to the promised land but on His terms, not theirs.
In so many ways, this has been a year off the map. As leaders, we had our plans drawn, and we had to adapt over and over again. As I look at the map of the Israelites’ journey, I wonder what future generations will think of the choices we made this year. I pray that they will see us for who I believe we are a group of people who tried our best to stay near to God in a difficult season.
2020 is the year we lost our maps. However, God has not lost us. In fact, the loss of our maps may be the very things we need to grow more deeply in the presence of God. Below you will find the prayer of the lost map. It will give you the space to lament what you lost, to give thanks for what God has done, and to praise God for who He is. May it be a blessing and encouragement to you in this season.
Prayer of the Lost Map
- Take a minute to lament the map you drew that is no longer valid. Maybe it was a plan for your life that this year crushed. Maybe it was a relationship that broke down. Maybe it was the pain of a journey that should have taken a few weeks that now will take a few years. Whatever it is, take a minute to bring that heartache to God.
- Take a minute to thank God for His guiding and sustaining presence in your life. He is the God who will never forsake you. When the map falls apart, the journey is not over. He did not leave his people alone in the wilderness, and He has not left us.
- Take a minute to thank God for the place that He has put you. You are in that place for just this moment. Open up google maps and take a few minutes to look at where you live. Spend some time thanking God for specific places and institutions in your town.
- Close by offering praise to God for who is that he is close enough to hear our cries and powerful enough to do something in response. His guidance will one day bring you home, and for that, He is worthy of praise.