Thursday, 14 February 2013

Recalibrating

So, God.

Something occurred to me the other day and made me smile. 

It was such an obvious analogy that I thought you must be having a bit of a joke.

I went to visit a friend who has recently moved house and I don't really know the way to her new place yet, even though I've been once before. So, being the technologically-minded person I am, I used my phone to direct me. I fed in her address, pressed a button labelled, 'Start from current location' and pressed 'Go'.

I went. 

I followed all the instructions until a junction where the man on the phone told me to turn left, but I thought I remembered it from last time and I was sure I should turn right.

I turned right. 

I was wrong.

The road I chose took me through an industrial estate, some strange and claustrophobic backstreets and onto a one-way system that took me way out of my way. 

The man on the phone stayed calm. He wasn't annoyed.

The screen said, 'Recalibrating'.

He recalibrated remarkably quickly, because he started directing me through the maze of streets and roads that I shouldn't have needed to negotiate at all. Eventually I realised we were working our way to my friend's house via a different route. This time I took his gentle advice and turned left when he told me to. 

A short time later I pulled up outside her house. I explained why I was a little late and she asked where I'd gone wrong. When I told her she frowned and said, 'Oh, you'd have had no end of trouble if you'd gone that way'. 

Tell me about it. 

So, the (glaringly obvious) moral of this story is: Follow The Instructions. 

The man on the phone had the map. He knew. I didn't, but I thought I was right. Famous last words. 

You've given me instructions, too. Sometimes, I follow them. Then, I get to a junction and you calmly tell me to go left, but no! Right looks familiar. Right looks interesting. Right it is then. And then down the Right/Wrong road I find myself confused and lost. Lonely. Out on a limb. On a complicated one-way system without a map. Meeting dead-ends and road works and 'not suitable for vehicles' signs. So what do I do then? I pick up the instructions.

What do you do? Do you shut down and let me sort it out myself? I made my own mess, now I should clear it up? No. You're still there. Watching, waiting, ready to help. Even though it was my own fault.

Recalibrating. 

Finding a new route, because I turned away from the old one. 

The man on the phone doesn't always take me where I need to by the most direct route because he factors in traffic, road works and any other considerations I ask him to take into account. You, too; you don't always take me on the most direct route, but I can trust you to get me there. 'There' is the destination that you choose - not me. If I chose where to go as well as how to get there I'd either be driving forever or I'd run out of road before I got there and I'd end up in the sea. We are an island, you know. 

So. Your route might not be the prettiest, the longest, the shortest, the most interesting, convoluted or exhilarating, but it'll be the right one. Even if it doesn't look like the right way to me, I've found that it's best to trust and keep going. I know that even when it looks as if you're leading me down a dead end, there'll be a way through that I didn't see, and at that darkest and scariest corner where the road is bumpy and there's a steep drop nearby - that's when there's often beautiful treasure that I never would have found if I'd turned off onto the well-lit road with plenty of lay-bys when I wanted to.

Whether it's a huge motorway or a dual carriageway or a narrow country lane, I know that you'll get me where you want me to go. Even if I keep taking short cuts that turn out disastrous and you need to keep recalibrating. 

Thank you, Lord, for your patience and gentleness. Thank you that, like the man on the phone, you didn't make me pull over so that you could shout, 'Where do you think you're going, you halfwit?' You didn't draw my attention to the price of petrol, or the road sign that I missed, or the fact that I just plain did the opposite to the instruction.

You recalibrate. You don't abandon me. When I'm lost and I admit that I need you once again, you still get me back to where I should be. It might be that the route I take after my diversion misses some of the spectacular views you wanted to show me, but that's down to me. 

Thank you. Whatever road you want me to drive down, Lord, I want you to navigate.

I'll never get there on my own.

12 comments:

  1. Praise God for the recalibrations! We would be all the poorer without them. This post really spoke to me, Helen. It can be so hard to make sense of our lives. There is only enough light shed to see the next footstep ahead and even then it can look blurred and dim. My OH likes to explain his way of understanding guidance as a sat-nav system. As such, those routes we meander down and lose our way in are then recalibrated to take account of detours which still lead to our destination, just as you have described so well here.
    I find that scenario soothing. God doesn't wilfully mislead us. But we can, and do, disobey His instructions and want to go our own way in preference to His. It all comes down to trust. Even when the going gets hard and the path rocky, if God has set us upon it then we will get where we need to in the end.
    Handing over the driving seat to God and allowing Him to navigate the best path for us to take is the preferred way to go. Happy journeying! Love and blessings :) xx

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    1. Thank you, Joy. I'm glad it struck a chord. I get lost so often...

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  2. Another hit! You just keep cranking out wonderful, God-centered posts based on your own personal experiences. I especially enjoyed this post because all my friends and family know what a horrible follower of directions I am. I get confused and lost just coming back from the market. Seriously! Again, I enjoyed this so much I'd like to, with your permission, re-post this on my blog. Probably the week after next. That is if it's okay with you. I really enjoyed reading this one, Helen.

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    1. Thank you Steven. (I just put up the first comment, if that's ok, as you were gracious enough to keep trying!)
      Of course, any time, I'm honoured that you want to repost this.

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  3. Love this analogy and your gentle tone throughout. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Tanya, and thanks for reading. The analogy came to me as I was twisting and turning down backstreets and one way systems and I found myself smiling...

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  4. Thank you for this blog. This is what I love most: 'Whatever road you want me to drive down, Lord, I want you to navigate. I'll never get there on my own.'

    Amen, yes.

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  5. Love your "recalibrating" illustration. So many times, we could do so much better if we just followed God's instructions first. Excellent and fun too. Thank you!

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    1. Oh yes. So much easier - over and over again I ask myself why I didn't just do it His way to start with. Thank you for visiting and encouraging me.

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  6. Great post - again. :-) nail on the head and all that... Particularly struck me that I have missed out on some stunning scenery and wonderful adventures cos I chose my own way... Just glad God is gracious enough to get me back on track however far I've strayed.

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