Have you ever missed a turn and you were so upset that you purposely ran over one of those big orange upside down garbage cans?
I recently missed a couple turns in a construction zone on a long trip, and I was tempted to just obliterate one of those construction cones. Did I mention that I can’t stand missing turns? Well I can’t, I can’t stand it. But I’m not sure the exact source of my frustration. It is either my desire for a non-complicated trip, or my desire for plain old efficiency. I love seeing the estimated time of arrival on my GPS decrease rather than increase.
But it might be Pride. Could it be pride? No, it could never be pride! That’s impossible…right?? Now mind you, I knew this trip well. I have driven it multiple times, and I was actually saying out-loud, because of the construction, let’s not make a wrong turn around here. No, it couldn’t be pride.
After I watched the ever-so-important turn fly past me, my compass started going crazy. Not my GPS, but my internal blame-shifting compass that was lying dormant waiting for that right stretch of road so it could activate and give me ‘direction’.
Why did they schedule road construction during my trip!? The GPS software probably wasn’t updated properly, and surely the orange cones and signage could have been laid out better. And then there’s of course my navigator, my lovely wife, who was also culpable.
At that moment it wasn’t my external compass that was failing, it was my internal compass that was grossly miscalibrated. I was navigationally challenged on the road map of my heart.
There were two areas that needed remapping. First, what was most important. What was my goal in the trip and in life. Ironically, the trip happened within the context of my life, and therefore is subject to my overarching life goals, or at least it should be. Secondly, in any situation involving me, who is to blame? Who should I focus on regarding what God might want to change or bring about?
First things first
What is important. Well the two greatest commands (Mt 22:37-39) are to love God and love others, not be on time and have everything go your way. Also Paul says the Gospel is of first importance (1 Cor 15:3), not “my own preferences are of first importance”. I am supposed to live in a way that I am standing on and holding fast to the Gospel in real time, while in the transit of life, even and especially when other things are magnetically pulling my heart to give them more importance than they really deserve. So Christ’s death and resurrection on my behalf must ‘calibrate’ my directionally challenged heart.
Second things second
What is a sovereign God doing by allowing me to make a wrong turn on a familiar road with a heightened sense/desire to not make a wrong turn. Could He possibly, maybe just for a moment, be laying out a route that will expose the sin in my heart and provide me the opportunity for growth in Christ-likeness (that otherwise wouldn’t be brought out in any other way)? Maybe. Or, is He giving me an opportunity for an open critique on the manufacturers of my GPS, the construction workers, my navigator and anyone else within eye sight that can distract me from the route He has planned for me to explore? Hmmmm….kind of a toss up. Is He really asking me to explore the depths of my heart and look to my relationship with Him through this trial on the road? Now that I put it that way, it doesn’t sounds like so much of a toss up.
Get a new Map
I think, when we are honest, we admit that we struggle with directions – namely the directions of the Lord on how to live and prioritize our life. Not that His directions or commands are too hard (Deu. 30:11, Matt. 11:30, 1 John 5:3), we just don’t want to follow them even in light of God’s great love and provision in Christ.
Road Construction is God at Work
Praise God that salvation is not based on us following directions properly, but also praise God that, after we are united to Christ, He can sovereignly use the obstacles of life to continuously recalibrate our hearts to His road map.
I pray that when you take a ‘wrong turn’, or something doesn’t go your way in life, you may be reminded that God’s GPS destination for you is much different than ours, but also much better. Consider what He may be using in your life to recalibrate your navigationally challenged heart to His.