Saturday, July 18, 2015


Several years ago, I took a group from our church in Olive Branch, Mississippi to a men's conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. One of the men going was a OTR trucker, and claimed to know the route well, so we nominated him to drive the van for us.

On the day we left, he showed up cradling his prized possession, a GPS device. He plugged it into the van, set the coordinates for the hotel in Alabama, and away we went. The device dutifully told him how to proceed to the interstate and gave him reminders before each turn was required.

A few hours into the trip, however, the fun began. The GPS told our driver to prepare to exit the highway we were on, and to get on a different highway. Since he drove the area frequently, he told us that we weren't going to take that route, as there was a lot of construction going on and it would cause us significant delays. As his experience was the very reason that we selected him to drive, no one gave it another thought and we resumed our conversations.

The GPS, however, did NOT approve of us disobeying, nor was it aware of our change of plans. About a mile before the exit, we heard the normal reminder. About a 100 yards before the exit, we heard the instructions to exit. But about 10 feet after the exit ramp, we heard a new command. Make a legal U-turn, and then exit at this interchange. When we continued on, the system hesitated and then proclaimed...."RECALCULATING...RECALCULATING..." Proceed 6 miles to interchange number blah, blah, exit and turn left...

We ignored these instructions the system told us to do a U-Turn, then we heard the "RECALCULATING...RECALCULATING..." For about the next six exits, the system continued to try to get us back to the path that it had laid out for us. It got to be a running joke, we would try to speak the instructions at the instant that the GPS said them, as they became not only repetitive, but quite annoying.

Eventually, some internal switch flipped and it gave up, having recalculated that the fastest route for us to take was now the one that we were taking. A little while later, we arrived at out destination and had a great weekend.

Verse 11 of Jeremiah 29 also tells us "‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." This tells us clearly that God has a plan for each individual person, and a desire to give us a future through Jesus Christ.

Now, if you were to ask 10,000 Christians "What is the part of the Christian life that you struggle most with?", I suspect that if not a majority, a significant percentage would answer "I struggle with determining God's will for my life." I know for a fact that this is something that I wrestle with as I make individual decisions.

We correctly have the idea that God has laid out a perfect plan for our life. However, that right belief can also lead to wrong attitudes and actions. I have heard people say "Well, God called me to preach when I was a teen, but I didn't's too late for that now." Realizing that we made a wrong turn in our past should NOT leave us sitting on the side of the road in dismay. Instead, we should repent of the disobedience, and while the Holy Spirit doesn't need to "recalculate" our NEXT best path, we should be listening for Him to reveal it to us.

As for determining God's will for day to day situations, I offer this for consideration. The Westminster Catechism begins with this question and answer:
What is the chief and highest end of man?
Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.

So when faced with choices, always ask yourself if one or more of the options do NOT glorify God or allow you to enjoy fellowship with Him. If so, you can toss those right out, you don't need a GPS to know that you shouldn't drive off a cliff...