• Richard Parrish

Compass Bearings



“Your word [Lord] is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."[1]

The other day, driving to an appointment, I got turned around. I ended up in a residential area. My meeting was to take place in a restaurant. To be on time, I had to make a decision. Would I…


…Keep wandering around, trusting that I would eventually find my way or, “GPS it” and improve my chances of timeliness and accuracy.


I was thankful for the technological advancement that allowed me to plug in an address and enable a British voice to direct me to my destination.


Before GPS, I would have had to pull out a map; an instrument designed to destroy a man’s pride!


Sooner or later, we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. In those times, we need help in finding our direction. Guidance is something we all need. Life is filled with too many strange places.


We encounter predicaments that disorient us. A loss of a job, loved one, or cultural influence that challenges what we thought was reasonable, moral, and just, has a way of turning us “up-side-down and inside-out.”


Change can create anxiety and confusion because it reveals unfamiliarity. We’re in a quandary, because what used to work for us, no longer does. Each time I begin to get familiar with my computer software program, there is a change (an advancement) that places me in unfamiliar territory, once again.


And, change is becoming more exponential.


We know that change is part of life. Without change, we would miss some great benefits. Medical advancements improve the quality and length of life. The Internet has made communication virtually (no pun intended) instantaneous. The list of “change benefits” is too extensive to list in this blog.


However, in the midst of change, and whenever we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, we must not lose sight of our compass bearings.


I recognize that this metaphor may be lost on those who have been raised in a GPS world. However, the imagery of a compass hearkens back to the old seafaring maxim: “Whoever has the discipline of the compass has the freedom of the seas.”


It’s possible – even in unfamiliar territory – to have confidence when you trust the true compass.


The Psalmist understood that his compass was God’s Word:


“Your word [Lord] is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

If you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it’s not too late to check the compass! And, God’s Word is more accurate than your GPS.

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Ps 119:105.