Is Your GPS Turned On?
I’m a small town girl. I lived most of my life in a remote community with one flashing pedestrian light that was seldom used. When we moved to Oregon I was overwhelmed and didn’t drive for the first two months. Seven years later my driving skills have adapted, however when traveling to big centers I still prefer a navigator in the passenger’s seat.
Recently I made a day trip. Like I’ve become accustomed to I made sure the right seat was occupied by someone who was good at navigating. We traveled to our destination with ease, as far as navigating was concerned. Returning home my navigator faithfully directed me through the city and got me onto the road heading home. I was told “Now just continue on this road.” We had a GPS in the car but because it was noisy it was turned off…after all, all I needed to do was to follow the road.
We were all tired from the long day and my passengers were either napping or reading. I checked my fuel gauge and planned to refuel in a town about 40 minutes from our destination. I sat back in my seat and settled in for the three hour drive home.
The drive was beautiful, the afternoon sun backlit fields and rolling hills. I munched on peanuts and enjoyed my peaceful ride. A few hundred miles down the road I noted the time and calculated how long it would be before I could stretch my legs. Good, I told myself, only about 20 minutes.
As I drove I noted tall graceful windmills. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed them before, they were so peaceful in the now evening light. As I continued I noticed more scenery I didn’t recall seeing on the morning drive over. Funny, I thought, I really must have been distracted while visiting and forgot what the drive looked like. I yawned, as I had driven nearly eight hours that day and was really looking forward to getting home. I passed a gas station but didn’t think much about it as I had planned where I would stop. I looked at the clock. Strange I thought, we should have been to the planned stop long ago.
I was puzzled as to why my calculations hadn’t added up. I looked at the gas gauge. It was sitting on empty! OK something was wrong! I pulled over to the side of the road, woke my sleeping passengers, and asked them to check our location on the GPS. My heart sank when we discovered we had been traveling in the wrong direction, heading AWAY from home!! Although the road was easy to follow there was one tricky turn where I zigged when I should have zagged. I turned the car around and headed back to the gas station I had just passed. Within seconds the warning light on the gas gauge came on!
After stretching and refueling we got back into the car and checked the GPS. My shoulders sagged as I realized I still had over a two hour drive home. We backtracked about four miles to a junction where we took another road that headed for home.
During my extra two hour drive I had lots of time to reflect. The parallel to what had just happened and the road of life, ran strikingly close. How often have I relied on others I trust, to guide me in my spiritual walk when I should be studying for myself. When I turned on the GPS I found I was headed in the wrong direction. How about in my spiritual walk? Is it safe to leave my “GPS” on the bookshelf and rely instead on what I think to be right?
Eventually we safely arrived several hours later than we had intended–it was just extra hours on the clock. But how about life? We are in a countdown, the seconds are ticking away, and time is running out. Will I be content to trust what I know, follow my heart, with the risk of discovering I was headed in the wrong direction? Or will I pick up my “GPS” and ask my Jesus to plug in the coordinates for me to follow.