One afternoon, Gwen and I were exploring New York City via the subway system.
We were attempting to travel by train to the location we wanted to visit—the Statue of Liberty. But where we ended up was a surprise.
We had been getting better with our directions and maneuvering in the underground rail system, and felt confident that we could find our way. But somewhere in the process of switching trains, we ended up on the wrong one.
I looked at my Smartphone App that was supposed to tell me where I was, but it wouldn’t work—I figured we were too far below the city streets. I got out a map, but no matter how well you study one, it is of little use if you don’t know where you are.
As a last resort, I stopped at the information counter at the Train Master station and, yes—I asked directions. I remember my words to the gentleman behind the glass partition, “Excuse me, Sir—can you tell me how to get on the right track, and also—can you tell me where I am?”
He looked at me and barely cracked a smile as he said, “Well that last part’s easy—you’re right here.” Gwen’s laugh tickled him and he chuckled.
Since that day I have been reminded of my own words many times. When we ask God for direction in our lives, we often don’t even know where we are. In the midst of painful situations it’s difficult to get our bearings–suffering tends to cloud our minds.
But if I want to know how to get where God wants me to go, do I need to know where I am—in other words, what track I’m already on? The gentleman in the train station was right—you’re right here! What we really need to know is how to get on the right track from wherever we are.
We went on to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, then to a street fair—it was a glorious day together in the city. Later that evening we looked at the map again and realized how lost we had been. I recall saying, “It’s probably a good thing we didn’t know where we were—that would have been even scarier.”
But God protects us in the same way. We pray for help in the midst of suffering, not realizing there is evil all around us. Sometimes we’re able to look back and say, “Wow! I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time.” But often we just have to move ahead following God’s leading and keeping our eyes on Him.
No matter where we are when we find ourselves lost or on the wrong track, there is something we can count on—God is already there protecting us, and He will get us on the right track if we follow Him.
On the way back to the apartment that night, we took the wrong train again. So I did what any brave explorer would do. We walked up the stairs from the subway to the street—and took a cab.