Several years ago I took my wife to Sonoma, California for our 30th wedding anniversary to celebrate the beauty of our marriage in the beauty of wine-country. It seemed very fitting since Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into extraordinary wine was His demonstration that He could turn what is ordinary into something extraordinary and intoxicating. (John 2)
We flew into the San Francisco airport where we picked up our rental car. Once we located our car in the parking garage, I set up my new GPS devise that my family bought me for my birthday earlier that month. Shortly after turning it on, it gave me the message, “unable to acquire satellites.” The signals my guidance unit needed were blocked by the structure around me.
As I pulled out of the car rental garage after showing the attendant my paperwork, I noticed that I had just a few yards left before I would have to turn either left or right and choose a lane for different highways. I pulled off to the side to allow the GPS to start working but the attendant started yelling and signaling me to get going. As I moved up to the stoplight, I was faced with a decision without adequate information. I picked a lane and started moving. THEN, the GPS spoke up – It had connected with the satellites and calculated my position.
The GPS promptly instructed me to take the next left, but I couldn’t. I was stuck in the right lane with a barricade on my left. As I drove past the on-ramp I should have taken in this unfamiliar, chaotic place I started to go to panic, anger and shame. And then I heard a calm, re-assuring voice say, “recalculating”. The GPS realized that I had missed my turn and was recalculating a new route for me to take to our destination. After a few tense and uncertain moments, I realized that this was not a disaster and that I could relax, enjoy conversation, music and beauty as I simply moved forward as instructed.
What started out as an anxiety and regret-ridden road-trip, turned into an exhilarating, adventuresome journey to a beautiful destination, and all because I was able to get out from under the obstructions and trust the guidance of something that knew where I wanted to go and how to get there, even with the mistakes I had made.
God is so kind and forgiving with our blunders, misunderstandings, reluctance, over-ambitiousness, immaturity and sinfulness. So many times I expected Him to say to me, “You blew it, you’re on your own now, I’m done trying to help you.” Instead, God invites us out from under all the obstructions (wounding, sin, warfare) to His guidance. “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.” (Heb. 12:1 NLT) I have come “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” (Isa. 61:1)
But then, when we blow it and have a repentant heart; God says, “recalculating.” In other words, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psa. 32:8) “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11 NLT)
Let us keep our heart free to hear His voice and relaxed with the faith that He will “recalculate” our way when needed.
Great timing as usual! Not 5 minutes before reading this, I was frustrated and feeling regrets for all the poor decisions I made. This will help me to quit my pity party. I will go back to this when I start getting down on myself. God really is there recalculating the journey for us. Thank you!
Yes He is Scott. Hang in there…lets hang in there together.
Excellent illustration. Can’t say how many times I’ve heard that “recalculating” sound byte go off in my life. It’s always God working things out for good…. despite me.
Ted, we miss you guys. Someday I hope we can get together. It’s been too long.
Love it, Gary!
Great way to look at the Hope we have in a life with a Loving Father leading! I know we all would love some clarity, some deep seated confidence that we are solidly “not blowing it”, “on track” with Gods plan for us, but honestly those times are few and far between. Like looking at old vacation photos times from our youth we long to feel that the world is safe for us and the burden light. What we find seems just opposite – higher bills, deeper cares, less fun at the beach and more like the burden of a pioneer struggling to constantly splitting logs to keep the fire going to hold the winter chill at bay. But… we are being polished, formed into the image of the most incredible Son who ever walked on this planet. And… somehow all of these seemingly disjointed experiences are preparing us to rule and reign with this Glorious and Perfect King. As abstract as that can seem, it really might be the mysterious, foundational guiding GPS thread which finally brings us “home” and makes will make sense of all our endeavors in this life
So well said, David. Thank you.
Thank you for your beautiful story. The GPS is just like us. It is only as effective as its ability to receive information from on high. Our God doesn’t require any information, He has it all. Wow!!! He is the only one we can depend on to have the WHOLE picture. And the Creator of everything is just as willing to help us find our keys. Amazing!!!!
Barbara, your words are so good and filled with love and admiration for God.
Really like and can identify with this analogy of God’s guidance in the everyday and intimate detail of our lives!
Andrew, it was good seeing you a couple of weeks ago in Sydney.
I just recently wrote down my recollection of how God prepared me for the journey of fatherhood. I really had very little of the necesnecessary provisions. Who am I kidding I had nothing! My heavenly father provided so many lessons along the way. The realization however that God gave me a son beyond all the preparation and direction I could amass in a lifetime was the fulfillment of a lifelong desire I felt I could never achieve. God’s gift to me, my son prepared way before my desire took root continues to challenge me to love and nurture beyond my earthly skills. My heavenly father exceeds my preparation and expectations.
Beautiful. Thanks Jim.
Great analogy. It’s funny too how sometimes when you’re moving along, that you question the guidance too. We’re such silly people. I’m so grateful He loves us and is so patient. Thanks for the word!
Thanks. God is so patient and kind.
Thanks for sharing your story and application. Great reminder about how God is constantly working to keep us on track! Congratulations on your 30th!
Really really good, Gary. I will long remember your metaphor. Really helpful.
Amen Gary. Thanks for such a wonderful reminder of surrender and trust! In the end, he will help us recalculate when we’re off course… as the grea counselor he is.