Wednesday, August 19, 2009


"...he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions."

1 Samuel 15:11b

I think the GPS is the greatest invention since....I don't know...indoor plumbing?!! (I didn't want to say sliced bread). For someone who is directionally challenged it's been a huge help.

Back in the dark ages of 1978 when I first got my licence I remember the angst I felt when all I had to rely on was my parent's written directions. Since my father was a truck driver, they were always great directions but he assumed I'd paid attention to where all the streets were in town (and all the surrounding towns from here to Maine) all my years as his passenger! I remember his frustration with me when I'd have to ask for the same directions over and over again. Finally, after a few weeks the streets became familiar and I could cruise around town on my own with confidence.

Then, I graduated to maps! I hate maps! They're like reading a foreign language. Did I tell you I was directionally challenged? Do you know what it's like to try to read a map when you can't locate your destination on the map? Do you know what it's like to do all that while you're driving...alone...on an interstate? Not happening! So...if I got lost (which, thank God never happened) I'd have to pull off the highway, find a gas station, physically get out of my car and ask for directions from the gas attendant. Also, not happening!

Most of my successful map reading took place from the passenger seat after meeting my husband, Peter. We love traveling by car especially to places we've never been before. Peter's got a great sense of direction (hallelujah) but there were times he's needed me to navigate off a map. Again, frustration showed up when he'd have to point out where we were and where we were going before I could make any sense out of where we were.

Finally, on our last trip to Orlando, Florida we were introduced to my friend, GPS! What a pleasure it was to travel with her! She had a soothing yet confident voice that successfully guided us to every destination without one drop of sweat from our brow (or armpit). Even if we took a wrong turn, she redirected our path with her reassuring phrase "recalculating route." We learned quickly that she would constantly repeat that phrase until we followed her directions and got back on track. We also learned, rather quickly, where the mute button was located. We could choose to ignore GPS and go our own way. That's not to say we wouldn't find our destination if we continued to ignore GPS. Sometimes there were more scenic routes we preferred or we'd found a faster route but they weren't always the best route.

It was the same for king Saul in the Old Testament (see 1 Sam. 13-15). God gave him specific instructions on what to do to succeed in battle. But in the heat of it all he questioned God's timing. He thought his ways were better. Sure, he won the battle. Sure, he got to his destination. Sure, there was great celebration. Sure, he plundered great wealth. But, he deviated from God's plan. He followed his own directions and took credit for it all. That's when he lost everything. Here's what Samuel tells Saul in 1 Samuel 13:13-14

" 'You acted foolishly,' Samuel said. 'You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command.'"

It's like that when God give us clear directions isn't it? He maps out our route and if we follow it we get to His planned destination. But, if we veer off His path, taking everything into our own hands, He'll warn us a few time, like the GPS, "recalculating route." If we get down-right arrogant about choosing our own route to get there, God will mute himself and leave us to get there on our own. We might reach our destination thinking we accomplished something great but we may have missed out on God's mission altogether. God's mission will still be accomplished, just not by us. We end up losing it all.

Have you received clear directions from GPS (God's Planned Strategy)? Are you staying on course, listening for that familiar voice? Has the phrase "recalculating route" been muted and you're now following your own directions? If so...STOP! Un-Mute! Let God recalculate your route before you lose it all!

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