Apr 162018 0 Responses

God Can Always Re-Route You

Technology has changed what couples fight about it. As a kid, I remember traveling on family vacation. Dad always drove and mom was in the front passenger seat. The large Rand McNally map was always within reach. As we neared a major city, the tension would mount. The sign reading, “Memphis 167 miles” was actually a warning that the fight was going to occur in 167 miles. As we tried to make it through Memphis, mom would never read the map fast enough to dad. He would get frustrated. How hard could it be to read a map? Eventually, he would pull over. Then we would all watch as he couldn’t figure out the map either.

Jenny and I never experience this. Instead, with phones in hand, we navigate through big cities or sudden turns with little difficulty. On the rare occasion in which something goes wrong, we feel the same frustration my parents felt. But instead of blaming one another, we feel united in our disdain for Siri leading us astray. One technological advancement has caused a formerly divisive experience to become one that unites couples. (See: God Doesn’t Have a Plan for Your Life)

But we do feel tension while traveling. While technology saves us from blaming one another about the map, we do feel frustration regarding another issue. When you plug in your destination, the maps app not only plots your path, it also gives you an expected time of arrival. I call it the time to beat. While it doesn’t figure in time taken for bathroom breaks, meals, or filling up the car with gas, I always think that, like a delayed airline pilot, I can make that time up in the air. If the map says it will take 12 hours to get to Colorado, I think we can make it in 11:59. Jenny thinks differently. She believes vacation travel should be leisurely, enjoyable, and fun. So as we travel, I want her to hurry up and she wants me to slow down.

Apple Maps and God’s Will

When I think about God’s will for my life, what I desire is an Apple map. I want the whole story to be laid out before me with turn-by-turn instructions, an explanation of everything I might face, and an estimated time of arrival. I want to see it, evaluate it, and determine if I am for it. Yet that’s not what God gives me. Or you.

Instead, we are given the final destination–heaven–and then turn-by-turn instructions, but nothing else. While we might be able to look back and understand what God has done, we rarely are able to envision what God will do in the future. Even when we think we know, we don’t. Rather than giving us an exacting detail of what the future holds, God simply asks that we trust him and follow him. We want certainty, but God desires faith.

This leaves us with far less information than we desire, yet from God’s perspective, we have everything we need. We think we need more because we believe God wants us to perfectly navigate his plan for our lives, but God cares far less about our perfection and far more about our relationship. He wants us to know him, not simply navigate our lives with perfection. We think if he would give us the whole picture up front, we could walk each step the way he desires. But God doesn’t give us the whole picture. He simply wants us to depend on him wherever we are. This doesn’t lessen the importance of obedience, but it does remind us of the primary object of faith–to be in a relationship with God.

The Re-routing Love of God

One of my favorite things about the maps app is that whenever I take a turn that wasn’t scheduled, Siri kindly asks me to return to the route. After several invitations to return, eventually I get a notification that Siri is re-routing me. Keep my old destination but using my new current location, a new plan is created. Sometimes it mimics much of the old path. At other times, an entirely new way is devised. Yet no matter what I do, Siri never gives up. She doesn’t angrily say, “you figure it out.” She doesn’t throw her hands up and quit. As long as the app is open and a destination is set, Siri will continually re-route me.

One of the things I love about Jesus is that he never gives up on me. When I rebel, he asks me to return to his way. When my poor choices have changed my location, he doesn’t tell me to figure it out on my own. He doesn’t give up on me. He simply re-routes me. The destination hasn’t changed, but how he is going to get me there has. Whether it be disobedience, lack of discernment, circumstances beyond my control, etc., whenever life takes a turn I didn’t expect, I can always trust that God will re-route me. On a different path, he will use me, teach me, and walk with me along my way.

Many people spend their lives believing they have somehow missed God’s perfect path. They think they are living second-rate lives because of a poor choice, happenstance, or a season of rebellion. While I don’t doubt that we miss some things available to us, I think a greater sorrow is how much opportunity is lost because we don’t realize God is with us wherever we are. Stop wondering how life could have been and start realizing that God desires to use you right where you are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.