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Asking Directions

It was our first day of vacation in Costa Rica, and tempers flared as my husband, Steve, and I tried to find our way out of San Jose in our rental car. Two precious hours of vacation time had been swallowed up careening crazily back and forth across town when I suggested we ask directions.

Urrrrrch! My husband's abrupt application of the brakes put our seatbelts to the test. "Fine!" Steve snapped. "Go ask!"

Pocket translator in hand, I approached a pedestrian. "¿Donde esta highway uno?" I asked hesitantly.

He stared, evidently not comprehending a word. I slunk back to the car in defeat.

Finally, miraculously, we stumbled onto Highway 1 and were on our way. The rest of the week was the delightful family vacation we'd hoped for: surfing, swimming, fishing, and hiking. But in the back of my mind hung the knowledge that at the end of the week we again had to tackle San Jose.

Sure enough, seven days later, we got hopelessly lost returning the car. Although I had become fairly adept at deciphering a Spanish map, Steve resisted following my instructions.

"I know where I'm going!" he bristled. But a few hours, yes hours, later, Steve sighed. "Okay, I admit I'm lost. Which way should we go?"

Pointing to the cluster of high-rise buildings in the distance, I mumbled, "I think we should go left since the car rental agency is in the middle of downtown."

He nodded in apparent agreement. Then, still relying on his own instincts, he turned right!

For some reason, the Old Testament story of the prophet Elisha and the debt-stricken widow popped into my mind. She had nothing left in her house but a little oil, and her landlord was coming to sell her two sons into slavery. Elisha instructed her to borrow empty jars from her neighbors. "Don't ask for just a few," he said. "Then pour oil into all the jars" (2 Kings 4).

The Bible says when all the borrowed jars were filled, the oil stopped flowing. Elisha then told her to sell the oil, pay her debts, and use the leftover money to live on.

It intrigues me to realize that the money the widow had left to live on depended entirely on how well she followed Elisha's directions. How many jars did she ask for? Ten? Twenty? How many would I have borrowed? I wondered.

How many would Steve have borrowed?

Christ came that we "might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10, NAS). Since God drew up the map to abundant life—his Word, which leads us to Christ—I've realized the quality of my life depends on how faithfully I follow his instructions, even when my instincts would send me in another direction.

Eventually, Steve and I found the rental agency and even managed to catch our plane in time. While we still don't agree on road map interpretation, we do agree that following God's road map is the only one that leads to abundant life.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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