I have always appreciated shortcuts in life. If I can find a shortcut, I will take it because time is valuable to me. I take pride in coming up with a shortcut that actually saves me time.
However, not all of my shortcuts have really been that short and I have paid the price.
Last week, for example, I had to go clear across town for my appointment with my eye doctor. Somehow I think they try to figure out where to place a doctor’s office, so it isn’t easy to get there, especially when there’s a time element involved.
My eye appointment went rather well, and I was happy with the results. I had made the appointment very close to the next appointment I needed on the other side of town.
Have you ever noticed when you have two appointments on the same day, they are at the opposite ends of town? I hate that.
But I was going to take advantage, and I was going to find a shortcut across town.
I am a very careful driver. Every time I leave the house, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage always says, “Drive careful.” As if she thought I would be a crazy driver.
As I left the doctor’s office, I thought I would take a different route to go on the other side of town for my next appointment. I’ve lived in this town for quite a few years, and I thought I knew every street in this town. But I guess I didn’t know everything I needed to know.
When I’m driving, I’m always careful to watch out for the other drivers. It’s not that I’m a lousy driver; it’s that other people can be and sometimes are bad drivers. So I am careful about the drivers that are in front of me and behind me.
I usually have a GPS with me, but I had taken it out and used it somewhere else for some reason. Who knows where?
That didn’t bother me because I knew exactly where I was going. I was going to map out a shortcut to save time.
Driving down one block, I noticed a street to my right that I thought I recognized, and so I made the turn and followed that street. Then I came to a street that took another right, and so I followed that. As I was driving through, I didn’t recognize anything that I could remember.
My problem is, as I drive, I sometimes get thinking about a project I’m working on. It might be an article, it might be a sermon, it might be just about anything. Once I get thinking about that project, I’m not too conscious of my environment. Yes, I do pay attention to the other cars.
I planned to make it to my next appointment at least 20 minutes ahead of time to sit back and relax and wait for that appointment. I always carry a notebook, so when I have a little off time, I can jot down some notes and make sure I’m not forgetting what I’ve been thinking of while driving.
I really hate it when I have an excellent idea, but I can’t remember that idea when I stop and want to write it down.
Just then, I saw a street sign to the right that I kind of remembered and gladly turned down that street believing I was going to get their way ahead of my schedule and I would have plenty of time just to get caught up on my notes. I was smiling as I was driving down that street.
As I was driving, I recognized some of the buildings on both sides of the street and was very confident that I had it made.
My only regret was that I didn’t have the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage with me to boast about my shortcuts. If there’s one thing she doesn’t like, it’s my shortcuts. According to her, my shortcuts always create problems. Boy, I wish she was with me now!
The more I drove down the street, the more familiar the buildings became. And then I saw it and could not believe what I saw.
On the right side of the street was the eye doctor’s office I had left about 20 minutes ago. I could not believe this was happening to me. Looking at my watch, I realized I’m not going to make my next appointment on time. I did not know what to do.
The only thing I could do at the time was call and cancel that appointment. The bad side is, I would have to explain to my wife why I canceled that appointment. When she hears of my shortcut plan, she is going to stare at me with one of “those stares” and then say, “What have I told you about your shortcuts?”
I just couldn’t put a new plan together that would solve the problems that I had right now.
As I drove away from the eye doctor’s office, I thought of what David said, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalm 32:8).
Sometimes I’m tempted to take a shortcut in my relationship with God. I sometimes think that I know better than God, and it always ends up in some level of tragedy.