My wife, Leni, and I have entertained friends riding with us in our Corolla more than once as we drive around the maze that is Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland.
After living in the Greater D.C. area for over two years, we still find plenty of neighborhoods that are new to us.
We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. If you are on the wrong road, progress means an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. C.S. Lewis in 'Mere Christianity'
The laughter comes from our friends as they observe Leni putting more trust in her GPS device than my incredibly advanced male instinct for knowing where I am. Inevitably, the four-lane road I was just sure was right dwindles into a cow path down by the Potomac, forcing me to ask her what her GPS says we should do now, which she had been following for several minutes already.
This is so difficult for me. At such moments, I completely identify with what General Robert E. Lee said on his way to Appomattox: “I would rather die a thousand deaths than to go see General Grant now.”
Is this reaction of mine because my wife rubs my nose in my faulty logistical instincts? No, she’s actually quite decent about it. Is it because the GPS lady’s voice is terrifically annoying as she tells us, “Route recalculation! Make a U-turn at next light”?
Not really, though I would’ve picked a more sweet southern voice like TV cook Paula Deen’s rather than Robot Girl. Maybe it’s being embarrassed in front of giggling friends in the backseat. Nah, my frustration is worthy of a sitcom, and I accept that.
No, the reason I hate to have to see Leni reaching for her GPS is because:
a. She clearly trusts technology over her husband’s geospatial abilities—what a downer!
b. I really *did* think I knew the way!
But the truth is, sometimes in life—in fact, more times than we’d care to admit—we need a route recalculation. We have great need of a U-turn instruction. And like those GPSs we have all found so helpful in recent years, God’s will for our lives never stops trying to find a new route back to our destination.
This willingness to never throw in the towel with us is just one good example of how God is so unlike us. We think we are being generous with a family member or friend if we patiently tolerate their willfulness once, twice, maybe even a third time. As they deviate from the highway we advised them to stay on in life, we proudly accept them back into our good graces only if they evince some humility from taking the wrong path. If we’re on our best behavior, we restrain from saying, “I told you so.”
But God is constantly, patiently, and in a lovingly kind voice, telling each of us how to find yet another path back to the main road. The whispers of the Holy Spirit are far more persuasive than the lady on the GPS, I find.
God is more reliable, too. Though I should listen more to our GPS, there’s no denying that—sometimes—this technological wonder is just plain wrong sometimes.
But not God’s will, which only wants to guide us to all that is good, true, and beautiful. And no matter how many times, for whatever sad reason, we assert our own wills and mistakenly go our own way, God is always there, trying to help us find our way out of our self-made messes—and back on the high road again.
May God give us the strength to be wise enough to make any U-turn He advises. Getting over our pride is oftentimes the shortest distance between two points on life’s roadmap.
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