Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isa. 20: 31)
A Compass is a navigational tool for finding directions. It is particularly important for sailors at sea. At sea with no land at sight, looking for directions will truly be a challenge. Even if you start at the port in the right direction, the waves of the sea will have turned the ship within no time. And for a long sea voyage, a slight change in angulation can take you to a very different destination. You won’t find many travellers at sea to ask for directions. One can be lost at sea with no trace of dry land and all resources on board running out. This is an uneasy illustration as I have never been at Sea myself. I hope what I said is fairly accurate. But we all have seen a Compass somewhere. Some people have it on their wrist-watches or car dashboards. Adventurers carry it with a map in the city or thick jungles so that they don’t get lost. No matter where you are, or in which direction you have turned, a Compass pointer never changes direction. Spin it or try to confuse its direction; it always reverts back to its original position. It always points to the North.
The verse quoted at the beginning from the book of Isaiah talks about having such a ‘God-Compass’, so that whether we turn to the left or to the right, we know where we should go. Sounds easy to do? It is not so easy. Here is an example. You have just passed your Higher Secondary exam and you don’t know where you should go from there. Say, you have secured good marks and there are many options to choose from. Which one do you think will be the right one for you? For some, it may be crystal clear where they want to go. But for many, it is a puzzle. So, you pray and fast. You study the options before you. You consult your elders and people who have walked the paths before you. You talk with your family about financial support and which city you’d prefer to go. Chances are that with all the prayers and suggestions from people, at the end, you still have to make a final decision. You finally made a decision. A month or year after, when things aren’t going too well, you look back and imagine if you had taken a different road.
Not just big decisions like career choice or marriage partner, we often come across a point where we have to make a decision, take a stand, choose a path. How do we know if our decision is the right one? We want to please God, but how do we always know if he is pleased? Some Christians have a fanatical way of trying to please God that for all sorts of problems and indecisions, they would seek someone who through prayer will predict the future or make decisions for them. For a lost wallet, they’d go to the prayer person to locate the wallet. Through prayer, they want to know if they can crack the NPSC exam this year.
Let us take a step back and consider for a while. We want to make the right decision, take the right path, and do the right thing. But let us think if we are becoming the person that Christ wants us to be. To be a follower of Christ is not just about doing, it is about being. We are called to be Christians. A non-Christian can do good work but that doesn’t make her a Christian. To be Christian is more than good action (although as Christians, we are to do good work). To meditate on his words, to have our hearts and minds committed to him, to be more Christ-like every day; these may not be always visible good works. But they are most essential for all Disciples of Christ.
And if we have the heart and mind of Christ, we will not be anxious and worried if we are doing the right thing. God will be our inner compass, a voice inside which guides and leads us in the way we should go. We may still have to make a decision; or choose a path to take when things are not clear. But God will also honour the decision of those who honour him and seek to ‘be’ more like him.
Written for Chakhesang Mission Centre Church (CMCC), Pfutsero youth magazine 'GOD COMPASS'