Get on the right track, baby
The bride and groom were rather merry, so my allotted task of driving them and their mountain of beautiful gifts back to their abode from the wedding reception was rather interesting to say the least! Finally I carried the last load from my car into their new home, bid them goodbye, and closed the door behind me. I got into the car and… oh no! They had directed me there, but I didn’t know the way back to the hotel to pick up my husband and a couple of others I was taking home. By now it was past midnight, when the hotel was closing, and not a soul around to ask. There was no way on this planet that I could go back in to the couple and ask them – on their wedding night! So I set off down black country lanes in what I could only hope was the right direction, all the while imagining husband and friends hanging round outside a closed country pub in the middle of the night, all in their best attire. Help please Lord! Amazing how a time like that can sharpen your hearing of God’s voice!
I wonder if the Magi felt like me? They knew approximately where they needed to get to, because of the star they had seen in the east, (Matthew 2:1-12). They set off in faith – not following the star all the way from the east, as is fondly imagined, and arrived in Jerusalem; but then they wavered and felt the need to ask someone the way. It was the scriptures that gave them the next clue to their destination, but it was only when they were nearly at their destination, that the star appeared again, to show them the exact location.
The thing is, they had to set off on not much more than a hunch. They’d got the general picture, and moved out in faith. But it was only in the going that the full direction came clear. In fact, they were almost at the end of their journey before the same star reappeared, and pinpointed their precise destination. Oh joy! Their faith was validated. They’d got it right! What other response than to worship as they gazed upon the child – the fulfilment of the promise made through the star that had prompted the journey.
Sometimes we just have to take God at his word, even if we haven’t got a complete picture of where we are heading. It’s a matter of trusting that he will guide as we go. And sometimes it can be the very last minute, before we can be certain that we’ve got it right. That is what faith is like. God loves the seat of the pants stuff – it draws us closer to him and sharpens our hearing of his voice. It’s in the going that he makes the way clear. If you don’t set off, you’ll never know…