Since our sabbatical in 2008 we have had a Global Positioning System (GPS) which uses satellites in synchronous orbit above the earth to help us navigate speedily and directly to our destinations. Nancy’s skepticism when I suggested we purchase one (“You and your toys…”) turned to approval (“This wasn’t a bad idea.”) as we tried to navigate though San Francisco. Working now in an unfamiliar county I find I rely on it to get me to various calls and communion visits.
But there is one drawback. We purchased a basic model so it only tells you the next turn. You don’t get a map of the whole route. Most of the time that is not a problem but from time to time I’d like to know where I am going rather than simply being guided to take a left turn, and following that by the next specific direction. I am looking for a larger picture and am being guided step by step.
So much of my life I have wanted to see the map – see the overarching sweep – know the exact route I would traverse as I try to follow the Spirit’s leading. But that is not how God works – I get the hints and nudges that seem to indicate what turn to make next but never sure of exactly where I will be going next. And some of the routes in my life have seemed like errors – yet in looking back I can see how they were pieces that fit together to get me to the next step.
It finally occurred to me the other day that with the GPS in my car I enter the address of where I want to end up. I choose the destination. In my life I have mistakenly thought I should choose the specific experiences for my life (e.g.. rector of this parish, chaplain there, editor of the newspaper, etc.) Instead I need to understand that my destination is to live in God.
Suddenly all of these ups and downs, and strange bits of journey are simply the twists and turns to help position me to better learn to live in God and bring me closer to the heart of God. The choice that matters is not whether I am here or there, doing this or that, but where am I in relation to God. And my hour by hour, day to day choices can be guided by how they affect my relationship with others and my relationship with God.
A global positioning system is nice. But a GOD positioning system is crucial. So what is your position?