“Where are you?!” I found myself shouting desperately to the gps app on my phone, which was loudly quiet. I was traveling in unfamiliar territory, a self-described country girl in the bustling city of Philadelphia, after spending an emotionally grueling day at the hospital as my husband underwent yet another surgery as well as a plasma exchange treatment that day. By the time I left, it was wintry dark and the windshield kept freezing up from the driving sleet. Though I held printed directions I couldn’t read them in the dark and was desperately trying to be vigilant of slippery conditions, oncoming cars and road signs, not to mention the icy windshield.
Even the poorly placed signs seemed determined to hinder my progress and hide my way rather than mark my way. A sign to a major expressway was covered by a heavy cloth and though I could see it under the cloth, I could not make out which direction it would have pointed towards. Is the cloth covering it because there is a detour ahead? What good is a road sign without providing a direction, I thought? Further down the road, I ‘happened’ to catch a small sign for the highway I needed, posted under a low trestle and had I missed it, I would have been traveling in the opposite direction! Why hide such a major sign, I thought? Shouldn’t it clearly mark the way?
As I strained to see in the dark, I slid through a stop sign, fearfully gripping the steering wheel as my brakes were outmatched by ice beneath the tires. Thankful there were no other cars, I slowly continued on in the dark. As I was nearing my destination, the gps finally came to life, providing directions for the rest of the way. Though I was grateful, I still wondered, “Where were you when I needed you? I could have lost my way!”
After I could park along the snow laden roadside and peer through the dark, I was relieved to see the house number for my niece’s house. Thank You, Lord, I breathed and relaxed my over-tensed shoulders.
As I lay in the warm bedroom, grateful to be safe and sound, I thought of how many times I could have made the wrong turn. Of how the signs were either hidden, inefficient, or not there for me.
My thoughts traveled to the path of life, and how especially in this election year the signposts seem hidden, covered or missing. Of how I seek clear direction for that, for Don’s health concerns, for the lives of our children. Lord, we need Your light…shed Your grace on us.
My harrowing experience left such a mark on my spirit and causes me to think of those journeying the road of life in general, caught in the dark as they try to find their way. Those seeing signs which may promise directions toward safety, but waylay and distract travelers. I thought about hidden signs that should proudly and broadly mark the way, rather than appear, almost apologetically at the last minute, near a bridge or fork along the way. I thought about the need for the presence of another who knows the way, yet of the silence of my gps partner, who I had been depending on and how frustrated I was to not hear the voice designed to help.
Lord, help me be a well-lit sign and confident voice toward life and safety to those traveling along the road of life; not silent or hidden, not absent or even apologetic. I want to be a bold and clear marker, a presence of accuracy, of genuineness and of comfort for those needing the compass of truth. For travelers along roads that are marked by danger and fraught with innumerable occasions to be wrecked or lead away from light, life, hope and safety. I don’t want to ever hear, “Where were you when I needed you?” as they travel through murky darkness. May no one lose their way on my watch, or lose opportunities to find You as the Way, truth and life. May I be a beacon of light, a voice of truth, a sign toward hope for any I meet along the way.