It was a road trip vacation for the Swindoll-Thompson family . . . a 2,288-mile road trip to be exact. At 1:00 a.m. on the morning we were to leave, I was doing some last-minute packing.
I reached into my clothing drawer, never expecting to uncover a little framed school picture of my son Jon from 2004. Though I had reached for socks, instead I pulled out a photo in a 3×4-inch tattered frame that brought to mind a million memories.
Jon was small and blonde, wearing a soft blue shirt and a sweet smile. His thin arms rested on the photographer’s flawless fence-post setting.
Without warning, my heart erupted. I pulled the small picture from the frame, held it to my chest, and began to cry . . . and cry . . . and cry. Grief often shows up in such unexpected ways. Suddenly, I realized I still had much to grieve. The roads we had traveled were not leading to the destination I had expected. In some ways, I still felt lost.
Maps We Choose
I’ve been pondering some roads we travel when life tosses us onto the rocky, uncharted tundra. With good intentions, we desire a road paved with relief, control, healing—a road that leads to the comforts of home. So we follow the maps drawn by doctors, therapists, friends, teachers, medications, alternative programs, prayer, and the Internet.
Though these miles have value, we often remain lost because we are looking for an earthly destination.
While holding Jon’s photo late that night, I grieved what was missed as I focused on my map. My map included expectations of earthly healing, memories of pain endured and past losses, sadness over present hardships, and hopes of what the world may be like for Jon as he grows older.
God’s Road Trip
Regardless the challenges at hand, we all eventually come to a crossroads of sorts. Which path will we choose? For Jon to choose God’s road, I have to choose God’s road first.
I pondered this as the miles passed on our family road trip. I read through Scripture, and the stories revealed that God’s perfect way has a beginning and a sure destination.
- Remember the many travelers who kicked up dust as they followed God’s road: the Israelites, Joseph, David, Jeremiah, Hosea, Paul, and the apostles.
- They were dragged to dungeons, thrown into pits, disregarded and dejected, all destined for God’s eternal home, but their earthly road trip was rough with potholes.
For us all, God leaves signs along the way reminding us He is with us.
Today’s Road Trip
So what map are you following these days? I clung to our vacation map and was assured by its door-to-door certainty. But life isn’t always certain, and we need one another to remind us that though feeling lost is sometimes part of the journey home, our heavenly Father continually guides us.
I would love to hear from you, perhaps to help you through some uncharted territories and provide hope as you press on. Let’s all remember; we must travel along rough roads in life to reach our final destination: our home in heaven.
Question: What maps have you been following, and what destination are you hoping for? You can leave a comment by clicking here.