I have been reading a very interesting book about the 12-day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. It is fascinating reading. In his flight after assonating Lincoln, Booth made several blunders. One of the most calamitous was the attempt he and his fellow-conspirator David Herold made in trying to cross the Potomac River into Virginia. This was a critical part of Booth’s escape plan. It would put them around a much more sympathetic crowd.
So, on the night of April 20, 1865, with a boat and directions provided by Thomas Jones. they put the oars into the water and began following the compass to the safety of the other side. Yet after almost 5 hour of grueling rowing they came to a fateful realization. They had been rowing in the wrong direction! Instead of heading to the relative safety of Virginia, they rowed back toward Maryland where scores of man-hunters were searching for them. They had not read the compass correctly and had set their heading on the wrong course.
Wow! How often in life do we set our sights on the wrong course? Sometimes we do it unaware, but more often than not, I fear we do it in the full knowledge that is taking us toward trouble. We ignore the warning signs, neglect to take regular compass readings, and put our blinders on. We may be sincere in our intent. We may be resolute in our pursuit. But as long as we keep rowing in the wrong direction, like Booth and Herold, we have no chance of ending up in the right place.
Scripture gives us some guidance about the proper heading for our compass. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Three words stand out to me. The first, is “fix” – a laser eye, and unwavering in its focus on Jesus. Secondly, “author” – Jesus initiates the beginning of our faith journey and without Him, reconciliation is not possible. Third, is “perfector” – He not only initiates the journey, He travels it with us. He guides us, fuels us and sustains us until completion on “The Day” we are home with Him.
As long as we keep our boat pointed at Him, we will row in the right direction. Even with waves and winds along the way, our destination will be assured.
Is it time to check the heading on your compass?
Live this week on purpose,