Principle: “When you need full directions, read the full directions.”
We were anxious to get to the ‘Scenic View of the falls.’ Since it was up in the mountains we knew it would be a glorious sight. The tourist information said that we would only be able to drive so far, that we’d have to walk some distance to get the view. That was okay – we were up for it.
We were all set to hop in the van and start the climb when Barb, looking at the tourist map, discovered the words ‘Open May – October.’ It was February. Cancel the plan! We were disappointed. But in the midst of our disappointment we were also grateful – grateful that we had read the directions in full before driving and walking further up the mountain. Another of life’s lessons was re-enforced: “When you need full directions, read the full directions.”
Reading the directions after setting out, or reading only part of the directions, not only wastes time but also leads to unnecessary frustration and, sometimes, even to lostness or disaster. It’s simply better to read the directions ahead of time. “When you need full directions, read the full directions.”
The Psalmist had learned the same principle. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (119:105) When we’re headed into new and unfamiliar territory, following a reliable map is wise. When we’re moving towards darkness and uncertainty, having a reliable light is wise. When we don’t know the way, reading the directions is wise. “When you need full directions, read the full directions.”
Eugene Peterson, in his Message, wisely translated the verse, “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.” The Psalmist’s experience in life had taught him that the only way to travel through the unknown paths of life ahead of him was to listen to the only One who knows what’s ahead. In fact, the Psalmist said (119:97) that he loved God’s law, that he meditated on it (read the full directions) all day long. Why? “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…I have more insight than all my teachers…I have more understanding than the elders…I gain understanding from your precepts…” “When you need full directions, read the full directions.”
It makes sense, doesn’t it? As the only One who knows what’s ahead God is the only One who knows the way. And He has given us more than His law and His words – He has given us Jesus who is ‘the way’ (Jn. 14:6) and the light of the world. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12)
Do you know what lies ahead? Or is your future cloudy or dark? Do you know where you’re headed – and how to get there? Have you been that way before? Or do you need some direction, some clarity, some guidance, some assurance? “When you need full directions, read the full directions.” God has given you His Word. God has given you Jesus, His living Word. It is possible to know the way. It is possible to arrive at the top of the mountain. Just read the directions ahead of time. “When you need full directions, read the full directions.”