He counts the stars and calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4
Don’t follow me. I’m lost. That may sound like something a preacher should never write but at least one time in my life, that was the message. It seems like I was probably ten years old and somehow Mama and Daddy bought me a new bike for my birthday. When I was a little older, they gave me a brand new, bright and shiny ten speed but this one was different. It was a single speed, traditional bike but it was new, and it was mine. I remember it having the little “streamy” things that kids used to put on their handlebars so they could wave in the breeze. I was so proud of that bike.
There was one other thing that set it apart. Attached to the back of the seat was a little “tag” (you know, like a license plate but a lot smaller) and it said, “Don’t follow me. I’m lost.” I don’t know if Mama and Daddy bought it and put it on the bike or if it came on it. However, since I was like most ten-year-old boys—it was probably appropriate. Of course, at that time I had no idea that one day I would be a pastor and do my best to help people find the right path in their lives. We all know how imperfect preachers are but hopefully there is one thing that we can do and do right—show people how to follow Jesus. After all, we all get lost, and we all need someone to point us in the right direction.
Several years ago we were in Niger, West Africa and we were in the Sahara Desert. We were traveling from one small village in the middle of nowhere and going to another slightly larger village in the middle of nowhere. Keep in mind this is West Africa and more often than not, you are going to end up on a road made of sand and only an occasional road sign. Our missionary was driving a 4X4 and we were heading in the direction of Abalak—again a medium sized city in the middle of the desert. We drove and drove and she was pretty sure we were going in the right direction but who knew. After all…it was West Africa, and it was the desert, and signs, well, they were not.
We drove for several hours till we came to a place where we could see in the distance a couple of tents and a few camels standing around. I remember there was a young lady sitting on a donkey who looked like she could pass for Mary on her way to Bethlehem but there also was a man. We opened our window and the missionary greeted him and he asked where we were going. She said we were going to Abalak. I remember his reply. In his local language he said, “Not this way, you’re not.” He also said that he had a cousin in Abalak. Of course, in West Africa, in the middle of nowhere, it seemed everyone either knew or was related to everyone. But he offered to guide us to Abalak if he could ride along.
Well, we readily agreed and off we went with a new friend pointing the way. Remember the song we sing at Thanksgiving about over the river and through the woods? Well, it was just like that except it wasn’t Thanksgiving, there was no river and there were no woods but after several hours we did find ourselves in Abalak. It turns out our new friend was just the person we needed. We were lost and he pointed us in the right direction.
You know, sometimes in life we get lost too, don’t we? I know more than once I have been lost. Don’t be shocked and don’t make me turn in my “man card,” but I’ve actually stopped and asked directions. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. It was always reassuring though when the store the person mentioned or the right color of house on the corner appeared. It was always about then I knew we had been found and everything was going to be ok.
As we emerge from the pandemic and all of its craziness and if you are feeling a little lost, remember it is ok to ask directions. It might be a trusted friend or someone you know from church, but it is ok to stop and ask for directions. I’ve found a Friend that always points me right where I need to go. He never gets lost because He made the place and He is never wrong because, well, He’s just never wrong.
There is a place in the Bible where it says that He knows the total number of stars in the heavens, and He calls them all by name. And I figure if He knows the stars…He probably knows the way I ought to go. How about that? So today, if you’re feeling a little lost, just ask Him. He knows the way and He loves pointing people in the right direction and, as always, you can rest assured that “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne