On July 4 my daughter, Emma, and I arrived in Venice for our Italian adventure. From the airport we had to take a waterbus to get to our hotel. I had heard about Venice and seen pictures of it, but seeing it first hand was exciting.
On our first day Emma suggested that we get lost in Venice which is very easy to do. We were headed to a Venice landmark, San Marco, and we took a circuitous route to be sure. A day later Emma went to a museum that she was certain I wouldn't enjoy, so she suggested that I visit some churches and get lost in Venice on my own. Again it took very little effort at all.
There is a story about a person "from away" asking a Maine resident for directions to some location. The Mainer supposedly responded, "You can't get theah from heah." (You can't get there from here.) That is more true in Venice than any place I've ever been.
Venice is a beautiful and confusing city. Miles of canals weave their way through the city and interrupt the flow of traffic. Four-hundred bridges cross the canals at various points in time. I had a map that I was following, but not every street, corridor or passageway are noted on the map. Sometimes I would see a wide open passage that seemed very promising and would begin to walk down through it, only to find a few minutes later that I had reached a dead end. Then I would walk down a corridor barely wide enough for two people to pass each other and would think, "This can't be the right way", but I was wrong and found that the narrow way led to where I wanted to go. More than once I thought I had reached a dead end and would have to retrace my steps, but just around an unobtrusive corner was my desired destination.
The preacher in me immediately thought of Jesus' words in Matthew 7:13-14“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Venice was a powerful illustration to me of those truths. In following Jesus, the path isn't always clear. The obvious paths can be dead ends and the obscure paths can be the right way. It is a walk of faith which is what Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."