My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands
within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your
heart to understanding . . . then you will understand the fear of
the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
—Proverbs 2:1–2, 5
When we hear people say that life is a journey, they are almost always implying that the journey will be from darkness to light, from bad to good, and from sin to salvation. This, of course, can be true, but my own experience would suggest that life is more like a very bumpy road, filled with unexpected turns, strange dead ends, and ambiguous intersections. It is a journey where we often have no idea where we are going, and rather than admit to our own lack of knowledge, we fake it, pull out the map, and point authoritatively to a place that is nowhere near where we intended to be.
Fathers who have been on that uncharted road have experienced a thing or two, and they have a great desire to impart advice about right and wrong ways to their own sons. Will the son hear and avoid wrong turns, or will he behave like the lost son in Jesus’ parable? “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living” (Luke 15:13). But, of course, his journey did not end in squalor, for he repented and returned home in humility and received forgiveness from his father. We should not assume that a wrong turn will always lead to a disastrous end. The son did squander his inheritance, but in the end he repented of his foolishness and returned to the father who loved him.
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts