by Anne Graham Lotz
If you spend much time outdoors, either on the open sea, or in the desert, or in the mountains, I’m sure you appreciate the value of a compass. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, I always enjoyed hiking. One particular fourteen-mile hike as a teenager stands out in my mind because somewhere along the way, my companion and I got completely lost in a huge laurel thicket! My friend took a compass out of his pocket, noted the needle pointing north, and adjusted our direction. As a result, we chose the right way out, emerged where we needed to be, and finally made it home.1
What strikes me is that just as I need a compass when hiking in the mountains, I also need a spiritual compass with me if I want to stay on the right path as I walk through life. My parents encouraged me to set my spiritual compass so that the “needle” of my faith always pointed to the Bible, God’s Word. In fact, my mother inscribed my first Bible with these words: This is your one sure guide in an unsure world. Read it, study it, love it, live it. In it you will find a verse for every occasion.
My parents then taught me by their own example to use my “compass.” My father’s faith in God’s Word was made visible by the large banner that hung over his pulpit whenever he preached anywhere in the world. The banner proclaimed, Jesus said…I am the way, the truth and the life… God used my father’s spiritual compass to help many a lost person find the way Home. My mother intentionally refreshed the setting on her compass every morning as she spent any spare moment she could at her large, flat-topped desk in her bedroom, pouring through her Bible.
The result was that regardless of any looming “laurel thicket”—any crisis or confusion—in the world or in our family, my parents knew the next steps to take. Their lives are a testimony to the effectiveness of the “compass” to lead them on the right path.
I now daily use the compass they passed on to me and taught me how to use. While my life has had its share of problems and pain, I can honestly say that I’m going in the right direction…one that will lead me safely to my heavenly Home.
So as we look ahead to a future that holds a lot of uncertainty personally, nationally, and internationally, I want to share with you the Compass. Read the Bible. Don’t forget to set the needle on its Truth. And remember my mother’s words: This is your one sure guide in an unsure world.
1Adapted from Anne’s new devotional, Fixing My Eyes on Jesus, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 2012