Incomplete Maps

Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB

Christopher Columbus sailed westward from Spain, hoping to reach the Far East. He reached new lands but not his original destination. Ferdinand Magellan and others later proved China could be reached by sailing westward but the route was long and perilous.

Many, like John Cabot, believed there was a shorter route, a northwest passage through or around North America. It was on this day in 1496 that Cabot was commissioned by England’s King Henry VII to explore the new world, hoping among other things to find that passage.

Risks were high, and Cabot was forced to rely on incomplete maps, drawn largely out of speculation. Like many other voyages of his time, the result was a failure.

Gradually, maps became more accurate. Finally in 1854, the Northwest Passage was discovered – but by land. The sea route was not discovered until 1906. Cabot would have been surprised to learn that the passage was located north of the Arctic Circle – not where he expected it to be.

In similar ways, we all depend upon various maps to chart our way. But all human maps are incomplete and flawed. As Paul wrote, we just “know in part” and see things imperfectly. But God has given us the Bible, a timelessly true map, packed with principles to help us make decisions.

Depend on the sure map that can guide you. Know the Word. Study the Word. Live by the Word.


Father, I commit my way to You. I believe You will direct my path. Help me make wise decisions. In Jesus’ name, amen.