"A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps. " Proverbs 16:9 (HCSV)
I can't count the number of times in my life I have heard someone say, "Put Jesus in the driver seat." or "Move over to the passenger seat and let God take the wheel." I've always gone along with this but recently I started thinking how that is all wrong. I think it should be, "WE are the DRIVER, and GOD is the MAP!" This makes much more sense to me. "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow." Psalm 25:4 (NLT) God isn't going to do everything for you, we are to follow the path that he points out. It's up to you to do what God wants you to do, what He has planned for you. And, the map is His word and the compass is our time in prayer with Him.
God back a few years with me, before we all had GPS systems in our cars and on our phones and pretend you're headed out on a road trip and you grab the map from the glove box and you plan your course. On your journey from A to B there are going to be some parts that are unknown. There aren't pictures of the surroundings on the map and there aren't highlighted paths you need to follow. It's your job to study the map (God's word) and you let him guide your steps.
There will be storms along the way when your vision is blurred and it's hard to see anything in front of you. There will be beautiful mountain tops where you feel like you're on top of the world and you can take in the beauty all around you, there will be dry desert times where all you need is a refreshing drink and break, there are valleys, dark times, sad times when you have to fully rely on the car (Jesus) to make it through to the other side. Then, there's the occasional (hopefully) traffic jam. You sit. You wait. For hours, days, weeks, months, years. You know where you need to go but you're just stuck, waiting for the traffic to clear up so you can get there. There's yield signs for when you need to get back on course. There are green lights and red lights for times when you're moving forward or need to stop where you are for just a short bit.
All this time, you keep glancing back at the map, figuring out where it is you're going and the best way to get there. Jesus is always ahead of us determining the path that is the best for our life. "After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice." John 10:4 (NLT)
It is sometimes hard for me to keep looking at that map. The road is clear and the sun is shining and I think I've got this. I don't need no stinking map! That's when I get a flat or run out of gas and I remember, I haven't checked my map in a while...is this where I need to be or do I need to do a u-turn and get back on His path? But, those times I am in His word and I'm following His laid out path, life is so much easier, even during hard times, there's always joy when I'm following Him.
"Help me stay on the path of Your commands, for I take pleasure in it." Psalm 119:35 (HCSV)
"I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways." Pslam 119:15 (ESV)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5 (NASB)