by DeLonn Rance (1998)

      C.S. Lewis, Advocating for the need to combine experience and theology for a correct relationship with Christ, compares Theology to a map. He points out that looking at a map of the Atlantic is not nearly as exciting as experiencing the sea. However, he reminds us, "If you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary! You will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at the map with out going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea with a map." (The Joyful Christian by C.S. Lewis) In this day of revival we need to be reminded that experience alone is not sufficient, we need the map of God's truth. While we fan the flames of encounter with God, we must be shaped and directed by his Word.
      This truth was brought home to Val and I on our return from the Moskitia. At 7:00 a.m. we boarded Missionair's DC-3 on the gravel runway in Puerto Lempira. Our take-off in this 1941 antiquity (a la Indiana Jones) was uneventful, but for the steady stream of oil pouring out of the starboard engine. As we neared San Pedro Sula, I noticed that our flight attendant, wife of one of the pilots, was beginning to look a little nervous. Finally she leaned over and said, "We need to pray!"
      When it was all over, we were informed that there had been a tropical storm over San Pedro Sula and the pilots had been unable to fly by instrumentation alone. Being unable to fly over the weather, they tried to fly under it. Because of the weather and because we did not have a detailed map of the mountain altitudes, we were flying blind and very low. At one point, as I looked out the window, we cleared the trees on a ridge by what appeared to be no more than ten feet! Finally, we were forced to turn out to sea and head for La Ceiba, another airport on the Honduran north coast. When we raised the tower, they denied permission to land because of the storm. Our emergency ration of fuel was quickly being consumed. Praying that the weather would clear, we requested an emergency landing on the island of Roatan. We almost missed it, but the clouds cleared and after what seemed to be a vertical drop, we landed safely.
      Upon disembarking we discovered that there was no fuel available. In an old hangar we found some empty 55-gallon oil drums. We put 5 of them in the back of an old pickup truck, whose owner drove me into town to a local gas station where I bought 260 gallons of "super" gasoline. When we returned, members of the airport personnel helped us fuel the plane. After opening the tank, one of the men asked us, "Were you on this plane?" We said, "Yes, why do you ask?" He said, "Because there is no fuel in this tank." When we arrived a few hours later in San Pedro Sula, we gave thanks to God because His grace is always sufficient.
      The church needs to be continually fueled by a living encounter with Jesus and the anointing of his Holy Spirit. Yet, to reach the other side and live eternally in His presence, we need both the power of experience and the direction of his Word. The fuel of the Spirit and the Map of the Word: Don't leave home without them!