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The Map

Growing up, my family would head north to Wisconsin’s Manitowish Waters or the Eagle River Chain of Lakes for a week or two in August. It was a vacation of endless pine trees, always a trip to Paul Bunyan’s famous logging restaurant and water skiing—and, of course, fishing with my dad! Before the first cast ever hit the water we would study topographical maps of the lakes. We wanted to familiarize ourselves with the drop-offs, sunken islands, weed beds and any structure that might hold fish. Before we ever left the dock, we had a plan!

Maps and charts make us better anglers. The more we study them, the greater our understanding of a lake and it’s fish. They also protect us from danger as they reveal sandbars, sunken timber, reefs, wrecks and other obstacles that can damage our boats, motors, and tackle.

Today, living in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, it often feels like we’re living without a map. Like navigating in uncharted waters, today we find ourselves living in a world turned upside down. Much of our normal routines have been replaced by an odd tension. My kids don’t go to school anymore. But they go to school online, at home. When you go to the grocery store, one of the few places humans can gather, an uneasy vibe fills the aisles. If you’re like me, you pass people, many hiding behind masks, and wonder, “Are they infected? Did I just catch IT?”

As we try to make sense of the life and the impacts of the Corona virus, there is no shortage of competing voices proclaiming this or that or the other thing about today, tomorrow and next year. Ughhhhh! It’s all quite confusing; who or what do you believe? When will this all be over?

I try to go through life eyes wide open but I’ve started limiting my daily intake of news and opinions from the experts. What am I gaining from all this “knowledge,” other than a heightened level of anxiety beneath my skin?

We are living within a great story, and like all great stories, you won’t know the ending until you turn the next page and let the story continue. I want to encourage you to spend a few minutes (or longer) each day seeking the One who is above and within the turmoil of our world. Is it possible he wants to reveal more of Himself to you in the midst of all the confusion?

God has given us a spiritual map to guide us and protect us—the Bible. Through narrative, poetry, and history, God’s Word tells us God’s story and lets us realize how our story fits into His. Sadly, many think that the Bible is merely a big stick intended to keep them from living large, a book written to put the damper on any party. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

The Bible is God’s living Word. It gives life, explains life, protects life and enables you to share life with others. At its core, the Bible helps us understand who God is, and who we are. God’s Word nourishes our souls and teaches us how to live. On a more sober note, it also warns us of danger that can sink us if we make poor choices.

The Bible is trustworthy and reliable. Take the time to learn and understand God’s Word. Get in the habit of reading the Bible every day, whether for a few minutes or longer. In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning, who is no stranger to suffering, tells us that we must “sit in the presence of the living word.” As you read the Bible ask God to help you understand it in your heart as well as in your head. Ask Him to help you learn to apply it to your life.

This picture illustrates the quiet power of the Word. In the picture the wind is blowing the pages of my Bible. Humbly open the Bible and ask God’s Spirit to reveal Truth to you. Like the wind ruffling the pages, God’s spirit will blow into your heart. No matter what you struggle against, what fears you hold or what relationships are stretching you thin, God’s breath will speak into your soul and guide you to the next chapter.

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