“Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ. . .” (Romans 16:25-26 HCSB)
Okay, in the riddle from part one, you could ask one question of either man, not knowing which would tell the truth to you concerning which fork in the journey to take. Which man would you ask? What would you ask? Did you think about the riddle at all? Did you try out various questions, and see various answers would yield?
Well, the conventionally correct answer is interesting–the answer that is suppose to be correct. Ready? Okay, you ask either man, regardless of which one you THINK tells the truth. The question you ask is this: “Which way would the other man tell me is the right way”? And whatever the answer is, you do the opposite. Think about it! Run the scenario through to it’s natural conclusion. Say you ask the liar what the other guy would say is the correct path. His answer is either left or right, and you are to go the opposite way. If he says “right,” that is because the other guy, the truthful one, would have said “left.” He lied, and said “right.” You do the opposite and go left, which is correct. Run the question as if it was asked of the truthful one. He’ll tell you exactly, and truthfully, what the liar will say. And doing the opposite, gets at the truth. Confused? Yeah, it’s a bit convoluted.
Now let’s take a look at what I called another riddle, the experience of my friend sailing down the river to the ocean. In this story, each gets to the Gulf of Mexico. Each follows a particular pattern of finding directions. For one, it’s charts (maps of waterways), and the other follows a much more serendipitous route. There wasn’t a question associated with this riddle. It’s just a true story, right? It’s not really a riddle, is it? Perhaps not. On the other hand, maybe it is.
Both the riddle and the story are about navigation, about finding the way at a fork in the road. Whether a chart or people we ask on the way, we really don’t if the way we are headed is correct. Is the chart really correct? Are the people we ask really telling us the truth or lying, either intentionally or not? Charts are wrong. People are wrong. We are depending upon an incorrect source for a very important decision. We can be deceived. Yet what else can we do? Can we be as the couple in the trawler who found their way to the Gulf of Mexico despite their lack of charts, wrong turns, misinformation, and such. Most of us are not like that, are we? Yet, I imagine that couple came away with a very interesting experience.
Now let’s consider Christian, we who are Believers in Messiah, who have sat in Church for some time, have heard a lot about knowing or discerning the “right” path. We conclude we are to find our directions through our dependence upon the Holy Spirit. He will guide us. This is our faith walk. In his devotional classic, “Morning to Evening,” Charles H. Spurgeon writes: “Thus it is with the Christian who has learned to live by faith. He is independent of man, even in temporal things; for his continued maintenance he looks to the Lord his God, and to him alone.” We are not to depend upon “man.”
So, then, when we approach the fork in the road, we navigate by listening to the Holy Spirit say, “Take the fork to the right,” Or “Take the fork to the left.” David Wilkerson does that. In his blog messages he says things like, I asked G-d and the Holy Spirit said to me. . . this or that. Is that your experience? Be honest with yourself. Do you, one hundred percent of the time, listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit for your directions? And if you listen, do you always hear His voice? Are there not some times, at least, when you walk and simply don’t know what to do? Aren’t there times when approaching a fork in the road, that you don’t hear His voice, and you don’t even see any truth-tellers or liars from whom to glean directions?
Okay, here’s assignment two (homework assignment one was to solve the first riddle, and should have implied solving why the story was also a riddle.) Take time to think, to explore, times in which you’ve come to a physical or emotional or intellectual fork in the road. How did you navigate? Go easy on yourself, though. It’s okay to spiritualize taking directions from someone such as, “In this or that decision, G-d brought so and so into my path to guide me.” See that was easy. G-d spoke through someone. And if you are courageous, ask the hard questions, like: “Did I want someone to ask?” and “Did I ask G-d for some person to help me?” “Am I avoiding G-d in search for a person to tell me what to do?” As a challenge assignment, take some time to think about how you really determine what to do each and every moment of the day. When you have a choice, with what do you fill your spare hours?
And let’s continue this exploration next time.
Lord G-d, Creator, Almighty, teach us, lead us, make us know You, and Your ways. In the Name of Y’shuaJesus. Amen.
Lord Bless, Keep, and Shine upon and through you all! Terry