Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Caught in the Roundabout

      A little over two years ago, my husband and I took a 40th wedding anniversary trip to Europe.  Both of us had dreamed of visiting Scotland, England, Germany and Switzerland, but I never thought there would really be such a possibility.  When my husband declared his intention to take me, I was surprised and blessed.   
     Our daughter had secretly been conspiring with my husband and made all the travel arrangements.  When it came to Scotland and England, it was my husband's idea to rent a car and take a "drive through" tour during the first week of our trip.  This was quite a step as they drive on the left side of the road, and we were somewhat unfamiliar with what to expect.  However, we plunged in and looked up traffic rules for the United Kingdom so we could acquaint ourselves with their signs.
     Once we arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, we picked up a lovely SUV.  We also secured a GPS to assist us in getting around.  We assumed that the GPS in the United Kingdom would function as ours do in the States.  However, we were wrong which led to several adventures and a day filled with nervous tension.  
     The plan was to drive to Stirling for the day and see the large castle there as well as The Church of the Holy Rood.   We started out by typing in Stirling into our GPS, but we did not get very far until we came to our very first roundabout.  These are circles in the highway where you enter cautiously and where you need to know where to get off.  Unfortunately, we did not know where to get off so we went around about five times until we figured it out.  Once we got on the highway, it was smooth sailing to Stirling.  We followed the signs that led us up to "The Church of the Holy Rood" where we parked and walked.  The castle was nearby so we felt it would be better to leave our vehicle where it was.
Inside the courtyard of Stirling Castle
     After our tour was over, we planned to head back to Edinburgh and find the town of Bonnyrig where our accommodations were located.  This proved to be the most frustrating part of our entire trip.  Again, we programmed the GPS to lead us to Dalhousie Castle, but instead, we started off in the wrong direction and had to turn around several times.  At this point, I did a lot of praying while my husband white knuckled the drive back towards Edinburgh.  By God's grace, we managed to find our exit to Bonnyrig and eventually to our housing for the night.
     By the time we arrived at our destination, we were exhausted from jet lag, driving on the left side of the road, not understanding our GPS, and having spent the day walking up steep hills and steps to which we were not accustomed.  Before leaving the next day, we asked the clerk at the desk how the GPS system worked in the United Kingdom...a question we should have asked earlier.  He told us that you simply put in the exact postal code of the house or location you wish to reach and it will take you there.  Lo and behold!  It worked!  In fact, it was far more accurate than our GPS systems here and from that time on, we did not have half the trouble we had experienced at first.
     Life is very much like that first day of our trip.  It is easy to get off the path, miss the turns and stumble along.  Our nerves were frayed and we were both concerned at being in a strange place without adequate direction.  Once we learned how to use the GPS, we had little trouble navigating our way around. In this life,  God is our best navigational system, and He has provided us with His Word to show us how to operate.  Even more, He sent His Son to deliver us from the bondage of sin and darkness.  We don't need to go round and round the roundabouts of life as we did on our trip.  He will guide us to where we are to go if we pray and ask His wisdom in all things.
     Isaiah 58:11 reads:  "The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail."  Indeed, these words spoken by Isaiah should bring comfort to us.  We do not need to get lost in life's confusing highways.  If we seek God, He will guide us and show us the way to go.  By trusting in Him, though difficulties may arise, we will never walk alone for He will go with us.  No GPS can guarantee accuracy like the Lord can who will safely bring us home to heaven one day.
     If we ever return to the United Kingdom, I am not certain we will rent a vehicle again.  We had a wonderful time, but we need someone else to do the driving for us.  Then, we can rest assured we will reach our destination.  With God guiding our lives, we can also know He will lead us on the right path.  If He is not in the driver's seat, we may find ourselves caught up in many of life's roundabouts without a solid exit.  Selah!

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