Image Credit: Getty Images/Kerkez


While in college, I spent a year serving as a student missionary in Australia. I was a pastor at Gateway Church and an assistant school chaplain at the Avondale pre-K through 12th-grade school. Among my many duties, one requirement of all student missionaries was to go work at the Adventist summer camp in Yarrahapinni, New South Wales.

Among the student missionaries there that year, I had the nicest car, so I was elected to be the driver to get us to summer camp. I quite enjoy driving and relish a challenge. I had been to the camp once before, so I felt I knew how to get us there. I looked at a map beforehand and planned out the trip. 

However, other than a crude printed-out map, I was at the mercy of my memory, as this was before smartphones. We began early in the morning so we could arrive with plenty of time to get settled before dark. The trip was going great until we reached the halfway mark. We stopped for lunch at a park, which I didn't realize was at a Y in the road. I thought I knew the right way to go.

Unfortunately, I was very wrong. The road we took quickly turned into a narrow, one-lane dirt road. It took us swiftly into the Australian jungle. We went up and over passes that I should not have taken my car on. The road was a mess with potholes, washed-out sections and terrible washboard. This was clearly not a well-traveled road. What was supposed to take three hours quickly turned into a much longer trip. 

After driving for almost four hours, we came upon a farm. There was a man out front mowing his lawn. I pulled over and asked him how to get to the town of Kempsey, which was near the camp. He responded by laughing and saying that I was clearly American, and very lost! He told me how to get there, but it took us another three hours of driving on a narrow, very unpleasant road in the middle of nowhere to finally get to a paved, regularly traveled road.

What was meant to be a relatively easy day of driving had turned into a nightmare for myself and a very long day for my passengers. All the danger, exhaustion, stress and irritation could have been avoided if I had simply paid closer attention to the map and been more willing to admit I didn’t really know where I was going and needed to do more studying beforehand.

I use this story to illustrate the dangerous spiritual reality that it is easy to become lost, disoriented and turned around when we think we can go through life by ourselves. We become lost when we ignore the divinely given map and do not seek God for our directions in life. 

As Christians, God has given us a very clear map. God clearly gives us instructions on how to be saved and live dedicated to Him. It's through Bible study, prayer and seeking God’s Spirit in our lives that we are connected with the life-giving map. Our biggest problem is that we think we can do it on our own, without God’s help.

When we live our lives only based on ourselves and our own understandings instead of focusing on Jesus and the clear truths laid out in scripture, we get distracted by the false narrative that is offered to us in the world and become lost.

Rather than following the confusing false directions the world offers, Jesus offers us a simple way to be safe as we journey in this life. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Relying on Jesus is the only true way to be saved. It's only through following Jesus and His words to us that we are able to plot a clear, direct and true track through this world. Jesus freely offers us the ability to remain on the straight and narrow path, to follow His directions and to arrive safely.

I have learned through my own experience that I don’t want to become lost because of my pride and ignorance. I sincerely desire to remain in Jesus and let Him lead me into truth and the safety of His salvation.

Featured in: July/August 2024