Headed in the Wrong Direction - The Warrior's Journey®

Headed in the Wrong Direction

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“About noon … a bright light from heaven flashed around me.  I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul!  Saul!  Why are you persecuting Me?’ ‘Who are You, Lord?’ I asked.  ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth,’ He replied.” (Acts 22:6-8, 10) 

In January of 2017 the United Press International reported the story of a poor, illiterate migrant worker in China who was making a 1,056-mile-journey on an old bicycle! Penniless, freezing, and unable to read the road signs, the man endured a painful trip. But there was another problem that made his odyssey difficult. When police stopped him for cycling on a restricted highway, they informed he was going in the wrong direction. Yes, on his journey of more than 1,000 miles this poor traveler had gone 310 miles in the opposite direction.  Fortunately, the police had compassion on the man and purchased him a train ticket home. 

It’s no fun to find out that we’ve been heading in the wrong direction. It’s not only a matter of adding miles to our route. There’s also the bewilderment and disbelief that we could have been so mistaken about the right path to travel. And even when the clues that we’re heading in the wrong direction begin to mount (e.g. seeing signs for cities that we’ve already passed through), we still resist the truth. When the truth finally dawns upon us, we’re left with a sick feeling of sadness and confusion. 

The most dramatic navigational blunder recorded in the Bible was not one of a physical journey, but a spiritual one. A young zealot Jew named Saul was on a crusade to stamp out an outbreak of heresy among his people in Palestine. He was armed with authorization to arrest any members of this “Sect of the Nazarenes.”   

But during his rampage Saul began seeing things that challenged his self-righteous notions. The people he was persecuting were better human beings than he was. While anger and hatred fueled his actions, love and forgiveness characterized his enemies. Then there were the Scriptures, which kept popping up like signposts in his mind that he might be going in the wrong direction. Yet he resisted the idea that he might be wrong.   

Then, on his journey to Damascus to imprison the followers of Jesus, young Saul’s world broke apart. A light brighter than the noonday sun flashed around him and a voice – that could only be God’s – called to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” He was fighting against God? How could he be so wrong? Knowing he was speaking with God, the shell-shocked Saul lifted his face from the dust and asked, “LORD, who are You?” Then came the reply, “I AM Jesus, who you are persecuting!”   


  • Have you ever made a huge navigational blunder? What about a spiritual one? 
  • Did you find yourself resisting the truth? Was it hard to acknowledge your error? 
  • We will all make wrong turns and must, therefore, be teachable and correctable.   

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