A few years ago, I spent some time in Beirut. I was visiting our projects and hanging out with our people and trying to figure out which side of the street I should stay on. Oh that's a real thing, people. It matters in that city.
One evening, my colleague and I needed to take a taxi from one part of the city to the other, about a 25 minute drive. But it quickly became apparent that our taxi driver did not know how to get there. Instead of asking my colleague which way to go, he dismissed her and just kept driving. Even when she told him to turn, he ignored her.
After an hour, he became increasingly more frustrated. And she and I became increasingly more concerned. It was night, we were foreigners, and we kept driving further and further away from our destination and closer to the surrounding mountains. The same mountains where scary people with guns tend to hang out. There were times when I actually thought he was up to something devious, that maybe this was my last cab ride I would ever take.
My colleague kept trying to provide insight and suggestions, but he wouldn't listen, either throwing up his hand in disgust or ignoring her completely. He finally began pulling over, every ten minutes, asking for directions to our destination. First at a gas station, then at a flower shop, then at a restaurant, to some people walking down the road, and so on.
As as his frustration mounted, our fears began to as well. Why wouldn't he listen? Why was he so angry? Why didn't he trust us enough to know where to go? Why wasn't I at home with my mom?
Finally, after two hours, we finally made it. Somehow he found the main highway again and found his way. He didn't talk to us when we exited the vehicle, we just paid him and he sped away. My colleague and I were so thankful to be around people we knew that we nearly danced in the street. There is nothing better than the familiar when everything else is completely foreign.
Recently, I was teaching a group of high schoolers on the importance of relying on Jesus when we do not know which way to go. And I used this story as an example. I realize that so often I refuse help when offered. I ignore Him when He is gently trying to point me in the right direction. And I often ask anyone else I can find for help, for direction, for comfort before I ever turn and acknowledge the One who knew the way all along.
I am just like that cab driver sometimes. I look for answers from those who don't know and get angry or ignore the One who does.
I bet that cab driver never thought God would use Him for such a lesson. Scary men with guns aside, I am thankful for that experience.
And I am thankful I didn't disappear into the mountains forever.