Northern Rivers, New South Wales, Australia

Consulting a map

Navigating difficult terrain? PICTURE: Jean-Frederic Fortier/Unsplash

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

At 11am each day, seven days a week our household has been tuning into Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC, and the announcement by the NSW State Government on the numbers of COVID cases that have come to light in this latest wave of the pandemic in our state.

It’s incredible how addictive it has become to watch our Premier stand up and announce an increasing number of cases and sadly, deaths, each day.

"In my travels one thing I’ve discovered is how handy maps are. From the days of unfolding that massive blanket of paper that showed all the roads and main landmarks (then having to scrunch-fold it back as best you can to fit it back in your backpack) to good old Google Maps on your phone. A map will let you know exactly where you are."

As I write, we are in lockdown, small non-essential businesses are closed, schools are online and children are being home-schooled, churches can’t meet except online and heaven forbid if someone wants to sing.

There are concerns for the mental health of many who may be locked down in unsafe homes, on their own or are ill.

As the numbers of COVID cases mount, despite harsh restrictions, it all seems hopeless.

But how can this be, when God has so clearly said he has a hope for us? A future to look forward to?

This is where we need to take a step back and do a bit of map-reading.

In my travels one thing I’ve discovered is how handy maps are. From the days of unfolding that massive blanket of paper that showed all the roads and main landmarks (then having to scrunch-fold it back as best you can to fit it back in your backpack), to good old Google Maps on your phone. A map will let you know exactly where you are. 

With a map you get an overview of your surroundings and a better understanding of how long this steep road will go and when it will end. Then you find yourself at the top of the hill you’ve been walking up and you can enjoy the view.



Very simplistic, I know, but it is no different when we trust our ultimate cartographer (map-maker) who has planned out a map for our lives. There will be bumps and valleys. There will be high points with beautiful views. We will get scratched and hurt along the way, but we will also grow and mature and learn what is important in our lives.

And hopefully, we will be sharing that with the people we are doing life with.

When you stand in your present moment, just like when you are in a strange city, the tall buildings obscure your view. You don’t see in the distance and you have to walk to the next corner before you can peer towards the next part of your travels. You may only see a few hundred metres down the road before you can understand where the map is taking you.

With God’s map of your life, you can trust that He is taking you in the best direction. It may be a bit longer than as the crow flies and you may come across some really, big potholes, but while we can’t see the end of the journey, we can know that each step is worthwhile.

So, in the midst of your lockdown or your troubles, take time to read your map. Ask God for the next direction, and when situations occur that are out of your control, hold on tight, go for the ride and know our Father in Heaven is riding alongside you the whole way.

One day the pandemic will dissipate and lockdowns will be a distant memory. We will gather again and we will be all the stronger for it.