We like to think of ourselves as careful travelers. My husband and I, along with my sister and her husband, have become skilled trip planners. Itineraries are developed, flights booked, attraction tickets purchased and city maps downloaded well in advance of each trip. Since we are frequent travel companions, generally the plan comes together remarkably well.
Nevertheless, we do encounter some road bumps. There’s the ongoing controversial issue. Some of us like to display a small Canadian flag somewhere on our person. This is contested—it identifies us as tourists, we are told. And an occasional misstep occurs. Even as careful travelers, the four of us are frequently stalled at an intersection. Two can be found peering over a map, one searching the surrounding area for street signs, and another flipping through a Rick Steves guidebook for his directions. (As an aside, I think that four befuddled and bewildered adults, milling about at a crossroad, identifies us as tourists well before they see my sister’s or my Canadian flag, but I digress.) Yes, even the most careful plan doesn’t account for all possibilities.
We plan our trips carefully so we can travel well. I wonder, though—should such planning go beyond these trips into the rest of my life? Am I traveling carefully every day? Jeremiah has some timely travel advice for us:
Thus says the lord: Stand at the crossroads and look and ask for ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it and find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The middle of the verse caught my attention first; where the good way lies. Isn’t it encouraging to note that there is a good way and this good way can be found? It is also a challenge, we need to walk in it, in this good way, every day.
Not everything on a trip can be anticipated. Careful advance trip planning did not eliminate the necessity for us to pause and figure out our location, so we would know where to go. This is not unlike our life’s journey. Jeremiah tells us to stand at the crossroads. We are not to proceed rashly, but take care to look and find the right way to get to our destination. Jeremiah even provides us with a travel tip—ask for the ancient paths. Ancient paths is remembering the stories of the past, understanding them, and drawing principles from them. It is about observing the ways and experiences of godly people that are ahead of us in the journey and asking them where the good way lies. Most importantly, it’s about carefully seeking God’s direction through his word for our travels on earth.
I like how the verse ends—with a promise—that we will find rest for our souls. We can, indeed, travel well.
Prayer: Thank you God for the summer season. A time when we can pause, travel and explore your world with family and friends. Grant us refreshing adventures, safety as we travel, and the blessing of meaningful memories. But also, gently remind us that our travels are not confined to summer trips, but rather a life-time journey with you. Amen.
Contributed by Daryl Ginter