There is an oasis close by. I can see it on my map. And my compass is pointing me in that direction. I’ve been searching for it in the desert for a while, just going where my compass and map take me, trusting that they won’t lead me astray. But I’m kind of bored. I’m thirsty, annoyed, and tired of walking around the desert. The whole compass thing was cool at first, and my map has not let me down yet, but it’s just boring now. I don’t NEED a map. I can see some water a few feet in front of me. I’ll just drink that. I am a self-sufficient person. A few more days have gone by, and I’ve shoved my compass and map into the bottom of my backpack. I know they are there, I haven’t thrown them away, but I don’t need them. I’ll keep them, JUST IN CASE something happens. Another week goes by and I’ve just been wandering. I’ve passed the same watering hole at least 3 times. I have run out of food, now I am eating mud cakes from the bottom of that watering hole. I know I have my compass, but I’m determined not to use it. I don’t need it! Other travelers pass by me and try to offer help. “Hey, there’s an oasis not too far from here. Come with us.” “No thanks, I have everything I need here.” I’ve become obsessed with these mud cakes. Not that they taste good. They are awful. It’s mud, for crying out loud. I’ve become obsessed with trying to make it taste like real food. I add things, dry it out differently, take things away, but it never gets better. It’s mud.
I’m starving. I’m even more tired, and I’m thirsty. I’m dying. I try walking to the oasis and I fall wearily on my face. My compass flies out of my bag and lands in front of me. I reach for it and my map and hold them in my arms almost apologetically. I was foolish and ignorant enough to think I could make this trip alone, when I had access to help. At this point, I have reached desperation. It’s as if my map knows this, and I can see, less than a mile away, the oasis.
Until I was in desperate, face down need of my map and my compass, I wasn’t going to use them for what they were created for. I need to be desperate always. On my face. Starving, thirsting, desperate for guidance. When will I learn that the map and compass are good? That I do need them? Without the map, without the compass, I am wandering around in the desert until I die. I might as well be dead from the beginning. Until I realize my desperate NEED for the map and compass I will never truly be dependent on them. It’s easy to think I am fine doing it alone and just have the map, tell people I have the map, and occasionally whip it out and get some direction. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.
I need desperation for the map. Thirst that can only be quenched by the rivers of living water that my compass leads me to.