Asking Directions


It’s an old joke, but still worth repeating:

Why did the Israelites wander around the desert for forty days?  Because Moses wouldn’t stop to ask directions!

You and I know there was a whole lot more to the Exodus story than that, but how often do we wander around in a foggy mess because we haven’t stopped to ask our Lord directions?

Let me introduce you to John M. Whitall, a Quaker ship captain in the 1800’s. He was a man who refused to use weapons, sailing through waters where pirates plied their trade. (God worked it out. You can read all about him, and catch longer versions of the quotes below, in John M. Whitall: the Story of His Life, available on Google Books.)

John learned the secret of asking directions. ”He asked the Lord’s guidance, waiting in silence often times to listen, and expected in every instance to receive it.”

Have we come to expect guidance from our loving Lord?

He observed a time of silence “to wait upon the Lord, twice daily to make it a special business to draw nigh unto him.”

How often are we silent in the presence of our Lord?

He was sure that the Lord, “who counted the hairs of our head, and who noticed the fall of a sparrow, would take care of even the smallest matters that affected His children.” Thus it was his custom in every time of emergency, whether small or great, to refer the situation to this indwelling Teacher or Guide, and to wait until he received what seemed like a sufficient answer. And this was the case in all his temporal affairs as well as his spiritual ones.”

Where do we turn first in a moment of emergency?

John wrote, in a letter to his sister, that “the belief that we all, at every place and time, are under the protecting care of our dear Friend, is most comfortable.”

May we learn to be still, to expect guidance, to trust our Father, and to be at peace in his protection!