Where is Your True North?

I have been passionate about the north for a long time. Yellowknife specifically. For almost 15 years a church plant in Yellowknife was on my heart. I have been to many communities in the north and fell in love with the territories.  Many people spoke over my wife and I regarding the north as well. I thought this must be God’s plan for me.

I own a couple compasses. One is an old Silva compass I carried with me over 30 years ago when I was in the army. The other one is a beautiful copper compass with Psalm 37:29 engraved on it. I also own a beautiful wooden watch box with a compass and “Carpe Diem” engraved on it. I wondered to myself, what is with the compasses? Is God trying to show me something? Is this just one more little bit of confirmation for me? I soon found out that the answer is no.

Recently I was in the Northwest Territories for work. For a week I was driving back and forth from Hay River and Fort Smith. During my daily 6-hour commute, I had the privilege of admiring the wildlife. Bison, bear, and moose. I soaked in the solitude and peace of that quiet highway, and got excited about our future move here, but a week later, that all changed. I spent 3 days in Yellowknife. My past experiences in this city were positive. I found it to be a nice, bright northern city on one of the biggest lakes in the world, however after my last visit, the city seemed dirty, dark, and oppressed. I heard God tell me that it was not His intent for me to bring my wife there.

Needless to say, I was confused. For 15 years I felt this was my destiny. What suddenly changed? It turns out that I was hearing God, just not correctly. He does have a plan for me in the north, but it wasn’t a church plant. I was following God, but my direction was a little off.
Back to the compasses. Did you know that all compasses point north? I bet you did, but did you know that they don’t point to True North? Compasses point to magnetic north which is southeast of True North. If your plan was to get to the north pole, you wouldn’t get there with your compass, you would instead end up in northern Canada.

Where am I going with all of this? Several years ago, a dear friend of mine told me that God will not reveal His plans to us in their entirety. If He did, then we would get involved and start our own planning. That is exactly what I did. Instead of focusing on preparing my wife and I, I got to planning God’s plan for us, and it only took me 15 years to figure out I was wrong. (I am sure that my wife would like to say I told you so!) However, the point I want to make in closing is that, even though I was a little off on His plan, I still got to work. I followed faithfully what I thought was right. My problem was that I put my focus on Yellowknife, which took my focus away from Him. I was following my compass, but I wasn’t headed toward True North.

Remember the compass I mentioned earlier? The one with Psalm 37:23 engraved on it? “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way.” My steps to Yellowknife were taken in faith, and even though I missed the mark, God honoured that. He used my journey as a time of learning. Any steps you take toward God are never wasted. If you think you hear Him, start taking those steps. If you don’t move your feet, you will remain in place and that would be a wasted life. Even if your compass is off you will still be heading in the general direction. Take your focus off of the destination and look back to Him and you will always end up back on track.

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