A good friend and I traveled downtown to see a show at the Kennedy Center recently. We left the suburbs early so we could have a relaxing dinner before. As we left our neighborhood, my GPS offered a route that my friend and I never take to D.C. because it tends to be congested with traffic. “Let’s just go the way we always go,” I said.
Well, I’ll bet you can already guess what happened. Traffic came to a halt somewhere between McLean and the George Washington Parkway. Watching the minutes tick away, we began to get concerned about our dinner reservation. (We fortunately ended up being just 15 minutes late.) We had to laugh at our decision to take our own route. Lesson learned: sometimes the GPS really does know a better route than we do!
Ignoring our car’s GPS seems pretty insignificant compared to the guidance we sometimes ignore when God is trying to help us navigate the decisions we often face in life. And yet, it occurred to me after this D.C. adventure that the habit to go with our own route is similar to the way we treat God. How often have you been faced with a situation that you only offered up in prayer once you felt you’d tried everything else you could think of? I know I have. What do you suppose prevents us from going to God first?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use the gifts and insights that God has already given us; those are resources we should leverage too. But how would our lives be different if we truly believed and lived each day as if God was right there in the next seat, helping to plug in the coordinates that would result in the best route for us? What might we learn if we put aside the “I already know” reflex and humbled ourselves to God sooner, and more often? I just wrote the following Bible verse on a sticky note as a prayer reminder during Lent. Maybe my recent trip downtown is a sign that I also need to put one in my car.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6