Snow blinded for a moment, the man stopped the snowmobile and looked down. He waited for his vision to return and looked behind him to his companion.
His pre-teen daughter was becoming more like a young woman every day, and he knew the time he had with her in this phase of life would soon be over. If only he could freeze time and keep her just like she was right now. He had been looking forward to their day with anticipation. This would be a good memory for both of them even if she had to keep growing up.
His daughter was noticeably quieter than normal and he wondered why. She didn’t return his gaze with her normal enthusiasm, but merely a weak smile. Her lips were a little pale, and he wondered and asked if she was cold. She shook her head no and turned from him. He watched her head scanning the tracks behind them and the ridge above them. Following her gaze, he admired the drop into the bowl shaped valley that protected them from wind. Today was absolutely beautiful.
He decided a quick snack might cheer her up, and dismounted from the snowmobile and began rifling through the pack. Nothing sounded interesting to him yet, but held up a few options before his daughter. She made a face on seeing the food, and suddenly vomited. As he tried to soothe her and let her recover, he wondered about the cause. They had packed the motion sickness medicine and he had told her to take it that morning. When asked, she shook her head and admitted she had forgotten to take the pills. Angry, he lectured her on the importance of listening to him.
Satisfied that he had impressed his expectations upon her enough, he stopped. They would head back to the truck he decided. There was no other choice but to cut their day short and let her recover. He secured the pack and began the snowmobile again, this time at a slow crawl. He hoped that a moderate pace would not upset her stomach further but was soon disappointed to find the motion still set her face a nasty shade of green. Once again she became sick while he waited and then tried to shush her anguished whine.
He was so focused on his daughter he drove as if on autopilot with his thoughts elsewhere. He did not check his course and followed what he thought were the tracks he made on the way down. Their path had seemed pretty direct and the path up was obvious. After one quick look back to his daughter, he increased speed to make the ascent. As they crested the edge of the bowl, he saw that the tracks led to a completely different tree line entrance. Calculating the direction by the sun, he quickly adjusted and hoped his daughter would not notice when he suddenly veered to correct their direction.
He stopped and tried to encourage her to take a little water but she refused. She seemed listless and miserable, and even though she made no complaint. As they crossed several snowmobile tracks he tried to estimate the time to the truck. The progress at this slow pace seemed to drag out. He heard her wince and once again wished he could help. Every bump seemed agony, and there was no more smile for him. There was nothing to say, nothing he could do but try to avoid the visible bumps as best he could; something they both relished earlier as they set out.
A few minutes later the man scanned the trees before him and realized that they were unfamiliar. He must get it right this time, for already they were over an hour past what he had calculated to get to the truck. He had no patience to wait while his phone calculated their position, besides his daughter would see this. His pride would not allow for being wrong when she had just been lectured to by him.
He quickly glanced at the compass and blinked in surprise. No wonder they were at the wrong place. He was astonished to realize how driving without thinking had taken them so far off course. He was frustrated with himself for letting urgency replace sense. He slowed the snowmobile and spoke with his daughter. Yes she was okay for the moment. He promised to have her to the truck soon, and this time he was confident. The tracks in the snow ahead were obviously not as reliable as knowing the direction he was heading.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on acting without a compass and getting off course.
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
In Matthew 4:9 A different tactic is used by Satan in trying the promised Messiah. He has a bolder and different argument this time, before he implied Jesus should prove Satan wrong. This time the lavish and best the world had to offer was the lure, in exchange for one simple act. Do what I want and you will get whatever you want. Maybe not his best attack but brought me to question if that tactic is used today on us.
If something is enjoyed, we want it for ourselves from the age of two. What is that about? Take and don’t think about the consequences or the logic of the action. You could argue that we mature and become able to reason and put other’s needs first and we don’t just grab what is not ours. If we really have, then why does marketing work, why is cheating so common, and why do we own items we never use? It is easy to justify away a purchase or a decision, but it still has a root of envy and hope for fulfillment through ownership.
Am I suggesting that it is satanic to use retail therapy or to ‘splurge’ now and again? Absolutely not! However, review the motives and the heart of any decision and only you will know where the center turns out to be on that decision. Jesus came with a purpose and Satan came to test Him. He was given a choice that went away from giving God glory and in everyday activities so are we. Like using a compass to review the actual course, I must often check my own motivations and my heart. Where is my focus really? Is there even a fleeting thought about God or gratitude for this item or moment? Sadly, often the answer is no. In all that I do let it be with joy and glory to God, recognizing my source of contentment is God.