You don't need a map when you let the Lord lead you

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Going to the grocery store is an adventure in frustration.

I look like a lost explorer. Like a map, my list leads me down aisle after aisle searching for the lost treasure of nonperishables, fresh produce and cereal.

I can feel the contempt from the eyes of other shoppers. They know I'm lost but are too embarrassed for me to help. I can almost hear their thoughts, "That poor man, wandering around aimlessly; so sad."

My only comfort is the hope that maybe, just maybe, they are lost, too.

The book of Genesis tells the story of Abraham's servant sent out with a one-item list. This unnamed servant was given the charge to travel to Abraham's homeland and find a young woman who would become the wife for his son. His instructions were not much more specific than that.

His list contained few of qualifications. He didn't have any candidates to interview. He didn't even have signs overhead like they do at the grocery store that at least directs you toward the right aisle.

All he had were the instructions he was sworn to. Go to my homeland and find a wife for my son.

He knew what he was to do. His goal was measurable, and he was protected if he failed. Yet he didn't know the steps he was to take to reach that goal. His entire journey could be summarized in a three word prayer, "Lord, lead me."

Those three words comprise the most complex prayer we will ever pray. Often, we want the complete detailed answer when God gives us in the big picture. We want details when God says, "Follow and I will lead you."

I'm not sure what's more surprising: that the servant found a beautiful girl whose father knew Abraham or that she was willing to return and marry the son. She demonstrated a lot of faith.

Success changed the servant's prayer. "Then I bowed my head and worshipped the Lord, who had led me by the right way."

If you are willing to wander while listening and following the leadership of the Lord you'll be surprised at not only the wonderful ways he answers prayer but the incredible uncertainty found in the middle.

After all, a quick trip down the cookie aisle will remind you that the middle is the best part.

Now, where is that milk?

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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