Maps remind me of my dad. Before the days of Google and Waze, paper maps were required to navigate unfamiliar territory and help us find our way. In order to prepare for a road trip, my dad would go to AAA and load up on city and state maps to determine the path to our destination. The large maps would be spread out on the kitchen table and he would study them and plot our course. Whether it was a trip to Florida or to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, great care was taken to make sure we took the best route, often including extra stops along the way to enhance our journey. When it was time to go, he would carefully fold up all the maps (quite a skill in itself) and put them in a special pouch. This man was serious about navigation, he even had a compass that attached to the dash of the car to help keep us on track. At home, he knew which way was North, but in unfamiliar territory it can be hard to find your bearings and determine the right way to go.
I recently learned that there are two ways to determine which way is north. Who knew? There is magnetic and true north. A compass needle will point to the direction of the Magnetic North pole. The earth’s magnetic north is different every day because of the hot, liquid metal that surrounds the inner core. It is flexible and changing. But True North is a geographical direction, it is fixed and constant based on the North Pole.
True North. Fixed. Constant. Reliable.
When my dad passed away after a short battle with cancer I felt I lost my True North. Even though I was a grown woman with an awesome husband and children of my own, my life was upside down. My dad was my rock. I like to think of myself as an independent, self-sufficient person, but I always knew that no matter what happened in my life, my dad had my back and I was protected. I suddenly found myself in unfamiliar territory.
My earthly father was no longer with me, but was I really fatherless now? Alone? Unprotected? In the weeks, months, years that followed the loss of my dad, I was reminded that I was not only Werner’s daughter, but also a child of God. 2 Corinthians 6:18 “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,” says the Lord Almighty. I learned that as much as I loved my dad, he couldn’t really be my True North. Our time here is limited and cannot be fixed and constant, but there is one who is. The Bible is the map that points us in the direction of True North: Jesus.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The lessons I have learned from my father will live with me forever: work hard, be loyal, and help others. His love and influence will always be a part of who I am and I do my best to honor him. I still miss him and think of him all the time. Even as I write this, tears fill my eyes, but the Lord has helped me to find my way. Psalm 23:3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. My dad was not my True North, but losing him did help me to realize who is.
Who is your True North?