While checking my email this week, I was reminded by a National Geographic email that it is Geography Awareness Week! (Yes, I know. National Geographic. I like to look at their travel photos okay?)
Now I LOVE geography, and am ultimately amazed at the Lord’s creation. Combined with history, ooo…it’s a recipe for a GREAT trip! And so that email got me thinking about geography, and then where would I like to see next? I thought about how many different geographic features the Lord has created on this earth…and realized I would have to spend all my life traveling in order to see them all! (And I don’t know about you, but my bank account is not currently able to support that kind of travel!) However, I do have a list of some of may favorites I’d like to see, or see again.
When I was a little girl, I remember Dad would bring his atlas on all of our family trips. He’d have our drive to each destination and campground highlighted, and then along the way we’d take some back roads to fun locations. I always enjoyed looking at his map to see where we had already been, how we got there and where we were going.
Ever since those days, I have loved maps, mostly geographic ones with trails and roads. And now on my adventures I like to have a map to know where I am headed, mark where I’ve been and then file away to look at later…bringing back all the memories of the journey.
The Bible is a lot like that map. Instead of being just a map of the physical surface of the earth, it is a map of humanity and of our lives. It tells us where we’ve been, and where we are headed depending on the road we choose.
But the unique part about this map, is that although it shows a long-term view of where our decisions will take us, it does not immediately show the path we will take each day. It does not show what we have ahead of us, or decisions we must make on what roads to take. However, the Lord knows where our map leads, and He is here to care for us along that road.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” -Jeremiah 29:11
It is important to keep in mind that to understand geography is more than just understanding a simple map. Geography is defined as the topographical features of a region, or the arrangement of features of any complex entity. And much like life, there are mountains, valleys, plains, rivers, roads and countless other features.
While we cannot see the road map to where we are headed in life, we may have no idea what geographical feature is coming up ahead. But we need to trust that the Lord knows how we will maneuver through each feature. Remember: maneuvering does not mean that we avoid everything around us, but we face situations and people, and influence those around us. To maneuver means to skillfully proceed, either through good or bad situations and features.
This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Jesus said in John 16:13-14, “but when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
The Holy Spirit guides us so that we may skillfully proceed, with wisdom, understanding, trust and faith. And God’s Word lights our path.
“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” -Psalm 119:105
And remember, getting lost is only fun when I able to trust my leader, because He knows my path and the plans He has for me. But without my life map (Bible) and my leader (the Lord), I am dangerously lost. It is up to us to seek Him so that He may lead me.
So, while some are focusing on learning the geography of the earth on Geography Awareness week…maybe it’s time we focus on knowing the Lord’s Word and our relationship with Him so that we know where we are headed.
Have fun discovering the geography around you! And if you have some time, check out the physical geography the Lord has created here on earth-it’s pretty cool.