God-Maps and Google-Maps

Road up a hill from unsplashMost of us embark on a journey with a clear destination in mind.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed taking our three children on family vacations.  With few exceptions, summer featured a trip to the beach and/or a visit to a family member and/or an adventure in the mountains.  We were all very excited to load up our trusty mini-van and hit the road.  The repeated refrain from the back seat, of course, was “Are we there yet?” 

Back in the days before GPS systems or Google maps, Dan had to depend on me and a folded up map to get where we wanted to go.  It was always a little dicey.  At least once on each trip there was tension surrounding the navigating.  I have inherited the well distributed and much laughed about “wrong way gene” in my family.

Now, it’s so much easier.  I can just whip out my phone, enter our destination, and driving directions are given in such detail that I know exactly how many feet it will be until the next turn.  All that’s left to do is follow instructions.

Have you noticed that God’s maps are not at all like google maps?

I’m glad they’re not.

God’s destinations for us are more about who we become on the journey and not so much where we go.  Maybe he does have an end location in minds for each of us, but he builds our faith as we attempt to find it.

God gave us his moral law, his Son, the “image of the invisible God,” and his Spirit to guide us. If we follow his moral law, stay close to Jesus and in tune with his Spirit, we will make it to our destination.  But every individual encounters a unique path.  Some people take a direct and straight course; others take a more circuitous route.

God’s guidance seems frustratingly limited to the next step, and even that is often at the last minute. He doesn’t usually tell us the number of feet or even miles before we’ll make a necessary change in our route. Nor does he nicely lay out upcoming lefts and rights. Just the next step.  I’d love to see the whole plan.

My husband and I have been on a roundabout journey toward our goals in this life, and I am starting to see at least one purpose of his one-step-at-a-time guidance.  We needed, and still need, to change before we are ready for the work that is ahead.  He has been faithful to provide for us while we figure it out.  The God-map has taught us to trust and love him much more than a google-maps version of directions would have.

I think God delights in his children pursuing their destinations in creative, potentially long and indirect ways, for that is how we learn to hear his voice.  It’s far more intimate that following a random voice on a phone.

Are we there yet?

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Trusting, Curiosity, Love and Work: Quotes from the Books I’m Reading

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“Joe,  when you really start trusting those other boys, you will feel a power at work within you that is far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.  Sometimes, you will feel as if you have rowed right of the planet and … Continue reading

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Our Plans, God’s Purposes and Faith

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January is a logical time to think about plans, goals, and dreams.  I’m more motivated to make changes in my life in January than I am in April or October. To live fruitful lives it’s healthy to make plans and to pursue … Continue reading

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When I Don’t Get What I Want

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Sometimes, even fairly often, God doesn’t do what I ask him to do.  Circumstances do not always play out like I had prayed they would.  Shocking, I know. Then what?  As I see it, I have two choices: Whine and … Continue reading

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Trusting the Mastery while Living in the Mystery

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”   Genesis 1:1-2 These first two verses … Continue reading

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Four Suggestions for Reading the Bible in 2016

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It’s a good New Year’s resolution: Read the Bible this year.  Maybe you’ve tried it before and haven’t gotten too far, or maybe you’re familiar with the Bible and yet reading it feels like trying to put together a complex jigsaw … Continue reading

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Knocking on Doors and Merry Christmas!

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Christmas is a time when we knock on each other’s doors, visit, have dinner and attend parties with our neighbors, friends, co-workers and families. The go-to response to a knock at the door is at Christmas time is, “Come in!” … Continue reading

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Three Treasured Christmas Songs and Their Stories

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Every song has a story.* Christmas music, in my house, is only heard from the day after Thanksgiving through December.  While I write I am listening to an eclectic play list of Christmas selections, ranging from The Messiah, (in the background right … Continue reading

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Peace on Earth

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Christmas is a time of year when we hear the phrase “peace on earth” frequently, and this year we may look for peace a little more fervently than usual.  After all, we’re celebrating the day that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was born.  … Continue reading

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Earthly Circumstances have Little to do with Heavenly Glory

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It’s December; it’s Christmas time.  We are treated to advertisements for music, party dresses, iGear, coats and cars, (I’ve never known anyone to give a car as a Christmas gift.  Have you?) all designed to give us a feeling of good cheer and coziness.  Warm fireplaces, … Continue reading

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