Traveling with a GPS

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.



Last weekend, my friend and I took a short road trip. She wanted to try out her new GPS navigating system. Neither of us had prior experience with a GPS device, so that in itself was an adventure. I programmed it for our desired destination, and we were on our way.

I was happy to be the passenger. I'd brought along a map, just in case, but I didn't plan to use it unless we got hopelessly lost. Moreover, we both had a pretty good idea of where we were going. I was fascinated by the little, electronic gadget, and I settled into the passenger seat eager to find out if this GPS thing was all it was cracked up to be.

We had barely left my driveway when a pleasant female voice instructed us to turn right at the next corner. We did. Several blocks later, she told us to turn left. We did that, too. After a while she said that we should continue another 220 feet and then merge left onto the Interstate. Obediently, we followed her instructions.

As we drove for miles on the long, straight highway, the lady was silent. It was eerie, almost like there was a passenger who was eavesdropping on our conversation, but not saying anything. "I wish she'd talk," I told my friend. "They should program this thing to have conversations with you. At the very least, they could have quizzes and maybe a karaoke sing-along." My friend shot me a look. I took the GPS from its place on the dashboard and held it in my hands. A little graphic of the road showed me exactly where we were. On the bottom right corner of the screen, I noticed a small box that told how fast my friend was driving. "Do you know that you're going 70 in a 65 mile per hour zone?" I asked. There was that look again. "That's what it says here," I added, apologetically. "Maybe, there's a way to program it so the lady tells you when you're speeding." "Don't even try," my friend countered. The tone of her voice was threatening enough for the lady and me to keep still. I sat there silently staring at the little screen, all the while wanting to blurt out, "Now, you're going 75!" But I didn't.

"Approaching exit 794, one half mile," the lady said. Her cheerful voice startled me. "Merge into the right lane; then take exit 794 East." Like a lemming, my friend eased her car into the right-hand lane and took the exit. After a few more flawless instructions from our invisible companion, we were at our destination. My friend pulled into a parking spot, put the car in park and turned off the key. "Well, that was fun," she said. "It was," I agreed. Then I asked, only half-kidding: "Do you think we should ask her to join us for lunch?" We stuck Samantha (the GPS company actually gave the voice a name) in the glove compartment and headed into the restaurant for a nice, relaxing meal.

Later, as we walked back to the car, I said. "I wonder what she'd do if we disobeyed her." "Who?" my friend asked. "Samantha," I answered. "If we don't follow her directions, I wonder what she'll do." My friend's response was something like:

I couldn't wait to take Samantha out of the glove compartment and program her to take me home. Once we got on the road, I begged my friend to go along with my plan. Reluctantly, and only after I promised her ice cream, she agreed to disobey.

We hadn't traveled very far when Samantha told us to turn right. We didn't. It took her about 50 feet to realize that we had ignored her instructions. "As soon as possible, turn around," she said. We didn't. Another 50 feet, and she commanded: "Turn back!" We kept going. Samantha reminded us several more times, and then she fell silent. "What's going on now?" my friend wondered. "I don't know," I said. "The screen says one minute please, recalculating." It was only seconds before we heard Samantha's pleasant voice instructing us, "Continue straight one half mile; then turn right." She had remapped our journey from where we were (for all she knew, we were lost), and she was leading us home. "Wow," I said. "This is one amazing little gadget."

Our road trip with Samantha reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Just like Samantha had designed our route home, God has designed the routes that we should take in this life. If we follow Him, the path will always lead us home. Think about it. If we trust a GPS navigating system to direct our paths, then surely we can trust God to lead us. We can be certain that He will find us when we are lost and show us the way home. Listen for his voice. He's there in your heart, an invisible traveling companion, and eager to show you the way.

Dear God:
You are the Shepherd, and I am one of your sheep. I trust you to lead me because your wisdom is far greater than mine. You know the path that is right for me. So help me not to run on ahead of you and lose my way. And if I do, Lord, I know that you will find me and bring me home.


2 comments:

Betty Thomason Owens said...

Love your story! We frequently traveled with a good ole boy who tickles my husband's funny bone and gets on my nerves. Sometimes it's great to have someone to "lead you home"!

Renae said...

Excellent analogy, Jean. God always leads us home. Even when we disobey, He will meet us where we are and guide us back to Himself. Wow.

By the way, my parents have a female GPS voice/person, and my mom is only slightly jealous of the woman who goes everywhere with my dad. ;-)

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