Straying into Minefields

About three years ago, I went on a mission trip to South Sudan. You may have heard about it.

One of the first things they told us as we drove through the streets of Kapoeta was that it was critical that we never leave the road, because while the UN peace keeping forces had cleared the landmines from the roads, they had not been able to clear them all from the sides of the roads, and so to leave the road for any reason was extremely dangerous. If we’d had any thoughts about not taking this warning seriously, as soon as we got to the ministry compound, we met a young man who’d had part of his leg blown off only a few weeks earlier by a landmine. So throughout our visit, no matter how bad the mud holes were in the main road and how flat and clear the sides of the road appeared, we stayed on the road. And when we would go out to visit remote villages and our young ladies would need to “answer the call of nature,” they would have to go in the middle of the dusty road as we all averted our eyes. (In Kapoeta, South Sudan, there are no truck stops or Starbucks to pit stop at.)

One of the most important resources to us while we traveled in South Sudan was our guide. Well, guides. When you’re in a land that’s essentially just endless flat dusty terrain with scrubby brush and no landmarks, that’s not an easy job. But between Gary (who spoke English) and Lucheche (who didn’t, but who knew this land better than any GPS or map), we always got where we were supposed to be safely and on time.

When I was a kid, I thought I knew everything. But what 35 years has taught me is that I have way more questions than I do answers. Most of the time, I don’t know where I’m going, much less how to get there. So why in the world would I try to get there with no map, no guide, and no clue where I’m going?

But I do.

Oh, it’s not always obvious to me or the rest of the world. Usually, it happens when I stop being intentional about my life and slide into “cruise control.” (That’s when I make assumptions and do what seems right instead of actually taking time to think and pray and find out what is right.)

And it always turns out the same way – I end up in a mess. And when I end up in a mess, I sink into depression. And if I don’t get my head on straight pretty quick, the depression turns into despair.

“God can handle your despair, but He can’t help you if you turn your heart away from Him.” (Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers)

It doesn’t make sense to me, yet I do it anyway – I set out on the road and everything is looking fine. Then, I get distracted by a cloud or a sunbeam and get off track. When I realize I’m off track, it suddenly dawns on me that I left my guide back at the camp, and that I’m sitting in the middle of a minefield.

But guess what? God hears my voice from the middle of the minefield and rescues me every time.

It’s one of my favorite things about Him.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Bob Sorge’s book, The Fire of Delayed Answers. You don’t have to read the book to take part in the discussion. But if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, feel free to link it up at the widget below. Make sure to visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, to see what he has to say. And also, use the widget! Visit our other amazing contributors and join the discussion! And return next week, when we’ll start Chapter 5, and the widget will be at Jason’s place. 

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  1. Oooo… A shiny!

    Wait. What? Sorry, I got distracted.

    Oooo.. a puppy!

    I did it again.

    Yep, I can be a mess. I can be a minefield magnet.

  2. It’s easy to get distracted. I have Shiny Object Syndrome myself. “Ooooh. Pretty…” and next thing you know i’m in a ditch. Fine writing here.

  3. I wrote on a post earlier this week that God give us second, third, and hundred chances to get it right. I think that applies here as well.

  4. yeah, I’m guilty of doing the same. Sometimes I get so excited about something that I jump in and THEN ask God to bless my endeavors instead of praying for FIRST!

    I love that God hears and forgives. That as long as we turn to Him, we can’t really loose.

  5. So thats what they are called “minefields”… hum never quite thought of it that way but its true.. I just sort of “fly by the seat of my pants” sometimes.. I don’t really know the Rhyme or Reason for where I end up..Probably most of the time its my own fault.. but like you said God is there and He hears us and rescues us.. Good one sista.. take care.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    LOL! Dusty, make sure you read David’s comment. LOL! Looks like we all have something in common! 🙂

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    David, objects don’t even have to be shiny to distract me. I can get distracted for 1,743 different reasons including lack of sleep, too much sleep, lack of caffeine, too much caffeine, and the fact that it’s a day that ends in “y.” Thanks for coming by and visiting! You’re welcome anytime! 🙂

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Thomas, my former pastor, Eliza, used to always say that God doesn’t mind teaching us the same lesson over and over and over and over and over and over again. As many times as it takes. He’s a good God that way. 🙂

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    TC, I have this tendency to forget that God doesn’t work by the same formula every time. Some things happen through fasting and prayer. Some things happen when we WORK for them. Sometimes, God blesses us with stuff without us having to work for it. He’s not a cookie-cutter God. We can’t just put our lives on cruise control and expect things to happen the way we want/expect them to. We must seek Him.

    Thanks, TC! I’m loving your input in this discussion, my friend!

  10. Great reminder for me, Sarah. I like routine so it can be hard to NOT put God in a box. He likes to shake things up and I just want to use the same old formula over and over.
    He’s making new wine skins for me all the time 🙂

  11. We do live in a minefield for sure! So glad He’s with us and when our hearts are toward Him, He faithfully guides us. Good thoughts, Sarah. Thank you.

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