Recalculating

I’ve had a Garmin GPS for the happier years of my driving life.  I remember when they were still vogue, but not inaccessibly expensive anymore, and for some reason my mother immediately bought me one.  It was almost as if she didn’t want to be called 150 times a day to give directions anymore.

One of the first things I learned about my Garmin was what happens when you make a mistake.  The Garmin would say something like, “In point two miles, turn left” . . . and I, having not a spectacularly acute sense of distance (although I pride myself in being able to measure with a ruler–inches or centimeters), would sometimes turn too soon or occasionally not soon enough.

There would be that pause from my Garmin machine and then,

“Recalculating . . Recalculating . . . . In point four miles turn left.”

I came to learn that recalculating meant I hadn’t followed the original plan, but the GPS was finding a new way for me.

There have been a few times when I have changed my mind about where I wanted to go, and so ignored my GPS, leaving it on.  The GPS will say over and over,

Recalculating.  Recalculating . . .

And keep finding new roads that lead back to the place I’d selected to go.

But, eventually, if I’d go too far in the opposite direction the GPS would say,

“When possible, make a U-turn.”

Over and over again, until I made the U-turn or turned the GPS off.

Then came the time when I bought a different brand of GPS.  I discovered that rather than saying Recalculating, it sat silently during wrong turns and then recalculated automatically.

In theory, this sounded less intrusive and more relaxing.  But what I found was that I didn’t always know when I had missed a turn, and because I didn’t, and the GPS would silently figure out another route around, I could easily go on without realizing I’d lengthened my route.

I couldn’t learn routes to places in this way and, more than this, I was left wondering, Did I make the right turn?  Or the wrong turn and not even know it?

And what if I just drove on and on making wrong turns?  At what point would the GPS intervene and tell me rather than silently figuring out how to get me to my destination . . . ?

I took that GPS back and got a Garmin again.  I realized I needed to hear,

Recalculating.

Only then would I learn efficient itinerary to the places I wanted to go.

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I have a confession to make.  Sometimes when I read the Bible, I don’t want to hear that I need to recalculate my life.  I want to just go on with the attitude, “What wrong turn?  Let’s pretend I didn’t make one.”

The problem is, if the Bible doesn’t teach me about the gravity of my sin, I would never know what’s at stake.  We’re not talking about going a few miles out of the way.  We’re talking about my eternal destination!  And if I’m a follower of Christ, I don’t want to waste my life doubling back from dead end alleys, serpentining through streets, heading off on highways to the middle of nowhere.  No!  There are too many drivers out there who need to know they can be rerouted to Heaven for me to be meandering about.

When I take a wrong turn, I need to know it immediately.  God’s Word, His Spirit, convicts me of my sins, so that I can turn away and get back on God’s path immediately.

God can and will recalculate my route when I confess my sin, directing me back to the right path, but it will never be the same as if I had gone on the right path in the first place.  This is why I must keep my listening ears on for God’s directions.  There is no time to waste in telling others about Jesus.  And I need to be on the right path as I tell others how about the perfect navigator, Jesus Christ.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3, ESV)

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Photograph by Miguel B., profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/mig/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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