I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the GPS guidance (in Facebook parlance I would say “it’s complicated”). Of course I do realize that GPS guidance is an incredible technology. A phone small enough to slip between the couch cushions can see a satellite all the way up in space, figure out exactly where I am, where I’m going, and how I need to get there.
It is the “how we get there” part that we sometimes disagree on.
You have to understand; sometimes the software picks weird routes. Usually I am traveling through familiar territory and I can just go the way I know, and safely ignore the annoyance I can surely detect in the dispassionate electronic voice as it intones “off-route ... recalculating...”. I really lean on the GPS guidance, however, in areas and neighborhoods that are unfamiliar to me. Many of these times the map has led us through the most seemingly random routes, taking unexpected back streets and through odd intersections, often moving in directions that seemed to move us away from our destination rather than toward it. My wife and I would ask ourselves in exasperation “where in the world is this thing taking us?”, only to make one last turn and suddenly find ourselves right at our destination. There have been occasions where I assert my will and refuse the direction of the unit, because I think it is obviously mistaken with the illogical turn it wants, and go my own way. Those are the times where I find myself in the awkward position of explaining how I got lost when I have a GPS unit in my pocket.
Now, our GPS unit is imperfect. The maps on it are sometimes out of date, and sometimes I’ll lose service. In spite of that, however, I have finally given in and decided to trust it in those areas where my knowledge is limited.
As I write this article, people from all over the nation are casting their votes for, among many other issues and candidates, the next president of the United States. When you read this, the decision will have been made, and you are possibly either celebrating the victory of your chosen candidate, or bracing yourself for four years under the opposition. Whichever direction it goes, there is little doubt that it has been and will continue to be a dramatic political landscape.
We are in an unfamiliar neighborhood, and we have no idea exactly what the future holds. The good news is that we have a God who knows the route, and who holds our future securely. Psalm 33:11-12 phrases this beautifully: “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” The promises and plans of candidates and political parties are temporary, but God’s plans for you and me are eternal, subject to neither veto nor vote.
We can be sure of our destination, and we can be sure that God will guide us there. Proverbs reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (3:5-6)
We frequently run into the limits of our perspective, situations where God’s path and our understanding will be at odds. God’s route is often far different than the one we would have charted out on our own. Joseph never knew his route to a throne would go through prison and slavery. David never knew his route to the throne would go through a battle with a giant and the betrayal of the current king. Even the disciples had no idea that Jesus’ route to bringing about salvation had to go through His public trial and execution before concluding at His resurrection.
As we go through the unexpected turns and detours of lives and our nation, may you be encouraged that as long as you follow God, you will never truly be “off route,” and your destination will always be assured.
Pastor Grant Parkki is the Christian Education Associate Pastor at Kenai New Life. You can find out more about the church and its ministries at kenainewlife.org.