As I sit here reading the Word this morning I can hear the fog horns of the ships traveling up and down the St. Johns River not far from where we live. It’s quite foggy outside and it reminds me of a time when my family and I were coming home from a trip in our sailboat through a section of the river where many of these large ships pass.
It, too, was a foggy morning – so dense where you could barely see 50 feet in front of you. This part of the river is very dangerous because we, being a small 30-foot sailboat, are like miniscule rodents compared to those large ocean-going ships. Having passed some of these ships before in clear daylight, it’s quite intimidating how their luminous steel hulls tower next to you. So in a thick fog, we couldn’t just dart out into the river groping around hoping to find our way home. We could have easily run aground, hit a dock, or worse – one of these ships!
All rivers have navigational maps that show where the channel is, that’s the deepest part of the river. This is the place where you’re supposed to be. There are red and green markers that define this channel, which also have red or green lights that blink when it’s dark or foggy. So in order to safely traverse the river in the fog, you plot a course from marker to marker using your map, and compute the exact compass heading to follow. I remember this being quite adventurous as my family and I did this. We’d get to one marker then turn the boat towards the next compass setting after someone yelled “mark,” and anxiously awaited the next blinking light to emerge from the tangible haze. We didn’t necessarily see where we were going, but we knew we were on track.
I see the Word of God as our navigational map for life. It shows us the channel and the markers that define it. It doesn’t necessarily show us every single detail of life’s “river,” but it reveals the important things to keep us on track and heading home to safety. And sometimes our lives, too, can get foggy and confusing where we can’t always see with clarity. This is when we need our map even more. We need those “markers” to direct us and the true Light to guide our way.
Any seaman or fisherman on the St. Johns River has maps on-board his craft and knows how to navigate from them. Shouldn’t we as Christians have the Word in us and know how to navigate with it? Reading our Bible clarifies our channel and puts markers in our lives so that even when the fog horns are blasting, we can run the compass headings Jesus gives us and stay at peace.