The Map!

I’ve been spending the past few days reading various sections of Psalm 119. I think I’m going to nickname this Psalm “holy-lotta-verses-batman!”

At 176 verses…spanning four whole pages in my Bible (!)…this puppy’s gotta a lot of meat to it. So, in the words of a very wise person: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So, I have taken on this “elephant” one small section at a time.

Today I read verses 9-16. It begins like this:

How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of Your word.” (vs. 9 MSG)

I think “young person” can be anyone ranging from 2-99, because just about everyone needs to “read the map” to figure out where they are going. But for some reason David points this verse to “young people.” I can’t help but get hung up on these two words. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I’m reading into them too much. I’m not sure. But my guess, “young person” was intended to be in there, because statistically young people make more mistakes.

SItting here at 30-and-some-change, I’m not sure if I’m still considered a “young person” anymore. I know I still make mistakes, but I think I’ve just gotten better at rolling-with-them. If, on a certain day, I decide to wear heels, and I trip and fall straight on my face, the next thing you’ll see is me crawling around on the floor yelling “hey, dang it, has anyone seen my earring back? It just fell on the floor!” Rolling with the life punches! 🙂

In this Psalm, David says to “carefully read the map.” Again, this can be implied to everyone who is taking a journey. In the words of Dora the Explorer, “Who do we ask for help when we don’t know which way to go? The map!”

But…..if your map gets turned upside down and south is now north and north is now south, you will never find where your going. Key word in the verse: Carefully.

When I was a “young person” of 19 years of age, my good friend asked me if I would like to drive with her down to Austin to go camping with her, her boyfriend and some other friends. We lived in Dallas, so it was a nice 3.5 hour drive straight down IH35. Easy peasy!

This was, of course, before the invention of GPS map apps on a smart phone. I had a cell phone….one of the very 1st Nokia ones (remember those?)…all 10 of the push buttons. The kind you only use for making actual phone calls. No texting. No apps. No GPS. Old school!  Very 2001.

We were supposed to meet everyone in a South Austin State Park at 6 pm. We left with plenty of time. This was the very first time either of us had driven this far without an adult. We felt so in control and super responsible. (which we were!) We were on a road trip and I had the paper map, snacks, and full tank of gas!

We arrived in Austin around 5 pm, just about an hour before dark. We were looking for an exit sign that said “William Cannon Rd.” We drove and drove…..past Kyle, all the way to Buda.

My friend and I agreed that we probably missed our exit. The truth is, we missed it by about 15 miles. But we didn’t realize it, and my friend was the navigator. We pulled off IH35 and pulled into a gas station to ask someone where we had gone wrong. The man told us we were way too south and needed to go north about 20 minutes and we’d see our exit. We thanked him and left.

We got back into the car and headed north. Again, no exit sign for “William Cannon Rd.” How can this be? We start questioning the map, and the directions. By now it’s dark and 6 pm. We are late. My friend calls her boyfriend. He is not from Austin and isn’t sure how to direct us to where we need to go.

Two clueless girls exit off IH35 (again!) and ask for directions to “William Cannon Rd.” We are told we are too far north now and need to head back south.

SERIOUSLY?!?! How can we miss this road TWICE! I totally aced map class!

My friend and I headed back south. It’s now about 7 pm, and we are officially late. Traffic isn’t the best either causing further frustration. We make it through traffic and once again end up way south of Austin, but this time stopping in Kyle. In frustration, we pull off the freeway to call her boyfriend. He tells us to go north and call out the name of the exit signs as we pass them.

We finally arrive at “Wm Cannon Rd.” My friend says “W-M Cannon Rd.” Yes, the sign says “W” and “m” which apparently is an abbreviation for “William.” This is complete news to us! He tells us as we exit to take a left. But what he didn’t realize is that we were coming FROM the south….which would’ve made the left turn, a right turn.


Another hour, and quarter tank of gas, is wasted driving WEST….instead of east….on (stupid!) “Wm Cannon Rd.” It is now 9 pm and we have been in the car for 6.5 hours. I’m tired of driving and I’m about ready to give up and just drive back home to Dallas.

Then *lightning bolt* for these two slightly inexperienced 19-year-olds…we realize we are on the wrong side of IH35. We correct our error and drive east on “Wm Cannon Rd” and immediately start seeing the brown signs to direct us to the state park.

Amazing what CAREFULLY following the map does.

Psalm 119:10 says: “I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.”

I wonder how many signs in life I have missed because they say something I’m not expecting…like “W – m” instead of “William.” How carefully am I following the path that God has me on and am I missed things along the way?

I need to pray more of verse 12: “Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living.” God can show me the road map, and I have to trust Him to guide my steps.

Following the path,

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