“They must be going to our church, too,” pipes the little preschooler’s voice in the back seat. Both of my children have come to this conclusion as we are driving to church on a Sunday and they see other vehicles on the road. In a child’s mind, there is only one road in the entire world and that is the one we are on that is taking us to the place we want to go. Logically, this means that if others are on the road with us, then they must be traveling to the same destination. If only everyone else was going to our church, that would be a wonderful day!
There are two people in Scripture who did see fellow travelers on their paths, but their experiences were as different as life and death. There was a man who was on his way to curse the people of God. As Balaam rode his reliable donkey, there was an obvious disruption in his plans. Repeatedly, this donkey acted out of character and would try to turn out of the way which was clearly frustrating and embarrassing Balaam. The final time, Balaam wished he had a sword in his hand so he could kill the donkey. God opened the donkey’s mouth and Balaam’s eyes and he was terrified. He finally saw what his dumb donkey saw in the way. The angel of the Lord was blocking the path, sword drawn and gleaming, prepared to destroy this disobedient man.
Jacob also saw some fellow travelers on his path. God came to Jacob and told him to return to his homeland with the promise that God would be with him. Jacob packs up everything, but due to a lifetime of treachery and covert dealings, Jacob was noticeably uneasy. God knew what Jacob needed and encouraged him by sending the angels of God to meet him. Jacob recognizes the confirmation from God. He named the place Mahanaim much like he did when he was in Bethel twenty years earlier. This was a mile marker Jacob wanted to remember forever.
Are you going God’s way? If not, you may meet a fellow traveler more like Balaam’s than Jacob’s. God may have given you indicators that you are going the wrong way. Much like the reflective red rectangular signs that scream “Wrong Way” God may try to get your attention. If you are going God’s way, it does not mean that you will not have bumps in the road. Jacob was about to face his brother and four hundred armed men! He was not experiencing peace at this point in the trip. God knows. Look for the mile markers along the way where He evidently confirms the way you are going when you are desperately searching for his leading.