Arguing with my GPS

I had the honor to speak at chapel on Friday, June 21, 2019 at St. Davids Christian Writer’s Conference at Grove City College. It is always a pleasure to share with this group. Here is a summary of what I spoke about.

Do you ever argue with your GPS? I do all the time. In fact, I have a love/hate relationship with Trixie (of course, I’ve named her). If I’m driving to a new location in Pittsburgh, I need don’t need directions close to my home but I do need to help when navigating the areas of the city I’m less familiar with. All of our arguments happen close to my house when Trixie chooses a different path than I would. She just doesn’t understand all the nuances of getting around in Pittsburgh – avoiding bridges, tunnels, parkways (during rush hour) and left turns. And so I often ignore her where I’m comfortable driving, she spends that time re-calculating and trying to correct my choices. And thus, we argue.

As I think about why I argue with Trixie, I realized the problem is that she only gives me one step at a time. I don’t like this. In the days before GPS on my phone, I’d print online directions from Mapquest or Google Maps. I liked these. I could print the directions and then study the path chosen for me. I could see the next step and keep those in mind as I drove to my destination. I’m terrible with directions so I would print directions for going to and coming back from, I needed both. I liked knowing where I was going step by step.

In life, I also would like to know where I’m going. As a young person, I mapped out my life – marriage, career, ministry, family. I was confident that I knew where I was going and how to get there. But as often happens in life, things didn’t turn out as I planned. Divorce, lost jobs, chronic illness all changed the direction of the journey I was on. I am glad the name of my GPS in life is God and not Trixie.

  • God knows the destination. I might not know the exact path but I can trust in the one who knew me from the beginning and loves me until the end. And we know that in the end, Jesus wins!
  • God guides me one step at a time; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. When you walk in the dark with a flashlight, you can just see right around your feet, that is what the psalmist promises in Psalm 119. One of my favorite hymns is His Eye is on the Sparrow, the last stanzas of the second verse say, “By his path he leadeth, but one step I may see.” It is good know the one I trust is faithful and loving.
  • God will never me leave me no matter where I go. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” When my kids were little, they would ask if we were lost, I’d respond by saying, “No, we’re on an adventure!” When it feels like I’m far from God it is comforting to remember that he is close.

Life is a journey. There are twists, turns and obstacles that make us re-calculate our plans. It is comforting to know that God knows where I’m going, he guides me to each step and he never leaves my side. I’ll keep arguing with Trixie, afterall, she’s only as accurate as her programming. But I pray that my faith may be strengthened as I trust the One who is faithful to complete His work in me.


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