Know Where You Are Going

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Vol. 19 No. 46 | December 10, 2017

It helps to know where you are going?

I had received word that a friend was to have a medical procedure at one of the local hospitals. I actually received text messages with time and location from multiple people. My plan was to go visit and pray before the procedure. Allowing myself plenty of time for traffic snarls and other possible delays I left home in plenty of time to arrive, park, and walk from the parking lot to the location.

So, I drove at the speed limit, found the hospital, parked in the garage, walked to the hospital and began my search for my friend, her husband, and other friends. Second floor. Okay here I am. Nope. Not here. Well, maybe there is another second floor or maybe it is in another part of the hospital. Down this hall. Asked for directions. Nope. Not here. I’ll try this hall. Nope. I’ll ask this lady at the information desk. “I’ll show you. You’ll never find it on your own.” She said in a semi-polite manner. I thanked her. She left. Nope. Not here.

My friends had already told me there were at the hospital on the second floor. So, I texted them again, got the same information, and continued my search. The next exchange of information when something like this.

Me: I’m still searching.

Friend: Where are you?

Me: I’m on the Second floor. I’ve been all over the second floor. (And the Third, and the Fourth…but I did not tell them that.) I’m standing right by the Food Court.

Friend: Silence.

Me: Silence.

Me: Are you at the West hospital?

Friend: No, we are at the Mid-Town hospital.

Me: That explains a lot.

I had another appointment and knew I would not have time to get to Mid-Town and then to my next appointment, so I apologized for missing them and asked them to update me on things and they transpired. They did. The friend did well. All is well. I made my next appointment (only one location for this one.)

I also was reminded of a well-known and important rule of travel: It helps to know the right location.

I had no one to blame but me. Rechecked my text messages about a dozen times during my wilderness wanderings. Yep, says right there: West. Actually, it said Mid-town, but because I had it locked in my head that it was West, I read it every time as West.

Yes, I felt pretty foolish. No harm done but it is important to know the right location.

My GPS correctly guided me to the place I thought I was supposed to go. In my mind, I thought I was in the right place. Once I arrived, I thought I was at the right place.

Sometimes our hearts and minds lead us to the wrong place. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said this about the heart:

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV)

In my heart and mind, I was in the right place. I wanted to be in the right place. But I was not in the right place. Being in the wrong place is not always as simple and innocent as going to the wrong hospital.

Our heart, and a mind full of good intentions, may lead us to a place that we thought would be beneficial. Once we arrive we realize it is not where we need to be. A party. Co-workers going out for a drink after work. A workplace that turns negative and discouraging. A relationship that had great potential becomes toxic and destructive. A major family decision that required some significant changes seemed like a good idea at the time but just before the move day you realized you were headed in the wrong direction.

There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak. (Proverbs 14:12-13, MSG)

The Psalmist offers another tool to help guide us as we travel through life.

I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way.
It is like a light that guides me.
I have made a promise
to follow your laws, because they are right. (Psalm 119:104-106, NIV)

It is important to know where you are going, and it is important to know where you are when you arrive. During the course of the next few days you will be presented with many options on how to live your life, places you will go, people you will spend time with. Knowing where you are going, and where you are, is very important. Choose wisely. When you find you are in the wrong place, admit it and adjust your course as needed.

Tom

A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

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