GPS is a wonderful thing. Like a truly, incredibly wonderful thing. It has real potential to get me to anywhere unfamiliar without unplanned side trips to who knows where. I am what I like to call “Directionally Challenged”. But really, the more accurate description would be “Directionally Completely, Totally Lacking”. I have no sense of direction at all. None. When I tell people that, they think I mean I have less than most people. No, I really mean it. None. -0-. Nada. Zip. So GPS is like a gift from God. And I don’t say that flippantly. I mean it. Thank You Jesus for GPS! It brings security and opens up possibilities I thought would never exist.
Recently, a friend told me about his young adult daughter and her adventures driving around in the Houston area. She calls him periodically completely panic-stricken when she gets lost driving to some destination.
The conversation begins like this: Dad, where am I? with complete desperation in her voice. He responds with investigative, practical, calmly spoken questions designed to get her to focus and respond and guide him to where she is.
Tell me what you are near. / I’m on 45!! / Tell me what exit you see. / I see…ABC Street!! / OK, tell me another exit. / But I don’t see another exit!! / You will see another exit – just wait.
There is another exit of course, and she tells him what it is. Now he has enough information to determine where she is and tell her what to do to get to where she wants to go. Obviously, in her most stressful moments of frustration and panic, she assumes her dad just automatically knows where she is. She completely trusts him and looks to him for guidance out of the scary unrecognizable to the right path to her destination.
This true story opened up my heart to some truths about my Heavenly Father.
He always knows where I am, even when I don’t. He knows exactly where I am when I sometimes find myself in a dark scary place in the deep and intensely private corners of my heart and mind. He just waits patiently for me to cry out to Him for help. He brings to mind and heart the fact that He is with me even though I feel alone. He will guide me when its time for me to see the way. Unfortunately, I tend to wait until I have tried just about everything else to figure out the answers on my own. Not to be simplistic, but work with me on this. He is my GPS. Not relying on Him is like me, totally directionally lacking, driving around in downtown Houston, at night, with no GPS. Gulp!! Beyond scary.
He also knows why I am where I am. He knows the reason for the dark and rough rocky places with sharp edges that are sometimes part of the path of life He has for me. These are the times when I feel like I’m doing everything right and I don’t understand why I’m here. Why is this crisis happening to me? Why the steep climb over jagged rocks to nowhere? What do I do now? Why the pain? Why the hurt? Why can’t I understand? What am I missing? I struggle and plead for light to shine in the darkness so that I can see the way out. Doing life in the dark places and waiting for His timing is tough, but it also brings about growth and more dependence upon Him and appreciation for His light and His calming presence.
Sometimes the why of where I am is when I allow myself to be mesmerized by the pretty colors of one of the many bright and beautifully painted signs that point in the wrong direction and promise all manner of things I think I want. With my focus in the wrong place, my feet follow the wrong path. Again, He simply waits. Always with me, no matter where I am, even when I am not focused on Him at all. Patiently and calmly waiting for me to stop, turn, and redirect my focus to Him and ask for help getting to where I need to go… His way.
God is so good. For someone as directionally challenged, or lacking, as I am, He created great minds to invent GPS. And I know that I am spiritually directionally challenged too. I allow myself to be distracted far too often and not even realize I have veered away from His path and onto the well traveled road of my choice. When I open my spiritual eyes and see my dilemma and long to turn back, He is my spiritual GPS. He shines His light of guidance in the darkness of my wandering and worrying. In His light, I see that He was there with me all along.
Sometimes, as part of His plan, His path for me takes sharp turns to parts unknown and I am caught off guard and afraid and longing to get back to the lighted area where I can see. He waits patiently for me to finally realize that my hand is in His. He walks with me through the struggle that will strengthen my character and my commitment to rely on Him.
Along this same line of thinking, one more truth about God is shown from one of my own experiences:
He never leaves me. Last year I went on a wonderful trip out of the country with a group. The group was from Dallas. I was from Houston. The flight back landed at the DFW Airport, and to get home I had to leave the group and get to the right part of the airport to fly back to Houston alone. This trip was truly a gift from God and I enjoyed it on so many levels, but there was this small speck of dread that grew in exact correlation to the nearing of the end of the trip because that is when I knew I would have to find my own way in a strange, unfamiliar, and crowded place. Up until this point I had flown 3 times in my life – short flights. I was not familiar with airports at all. And remember, I am “Directionally Completely, Totally Lacking.”
I could not stand it anymore, and when we were all waiting at the hotel to leave, I approached one of the leaders of the group and asked him to give me some instruction and point me in the right direction when we arrived in Dallas at the airport and they watched me walk away, a lone figure against the world and all that. 🙂 It turned out that he had been planning to take me where I needed to go before he left the airport to go home. The relief that flooded my soul was indescribable. The entire 2 weeks of this trip I thought I would have to do this alone. My mindset was: I’m a grown woman. I should be able to handle this. Obviously that line of thought was not working too well. Thank God that there was already a plan in place designed to ensure my safety and get me where I needed to be without any effort on my part.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have an ever present Someone who is constantly with me. Emmanuel. God with us. Always. He will never leave me alone, and He does so much more than simply give me instructions about where to go. He doesn’t just point the way. He doesn’t even speak directions like a disembodied voice with a little map screen. He is personal, close by, caring. He walks with me. He is constant and unchanging in a world of constant change. He simply is. I am called to recognize, acknowledge, and glorify Him. Even in those times when I can’t see where I am whether by my bad choice or as part of His perfect plan, I know I can trust Him. He will guide me and I will see what and when I need to see. If I do not feel His presence or know His compassionate voice in the stillness, that does not mean He is not with me. That means I wait, knowing He has not left me. He has never failed me. And He never will.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly, He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Ps 37:23-24 NLT