Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gertrude Garmin

“Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” – Psalms 25:4-5

This past Christmas my “from-me-to-me” gift was a Garmin Nuvi GPS unit. After several trips to places in Nashville I never intended to go, and decided I needed a travel companion that knew the way and could tell me where I was. Once we heard the GPS’s somewhat pushy and controlling female voice, we decided to name her Gertrude.

Yesterday I took a trip with my best friend, my daughter, and her friend to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. That’s about a 3 hour drive…but Gertrude will tell you it is precisely 2 hours and 46 minutes! Along the way when we would pull over or miss a turn she would begin to whine at us “Recalculating directions!” We could miss a turn by 30 feet and she’d start in “Recalculating directions!” She’d then recite to us the left turn followed by another left turn to turn us around.

On the way home Gerty decided to take us home a different route. On the way up we’d travelled through Evansville, Indiana. That’s actually the most direct route in my opinion. But Gerty decided we would be best to travel to Owensboro and then to Beaver Dam and get on the West Kentucky Parkway. Once we figure out what she was telling us, we found out it really was a better route in that it was on major highways with less curves, less traffic, and yes, just a little bit faster.

But the problem with Gerty is that she doesn’t show her hand! When she tells you “continue travelling 23 miles” she doesn’t tell you why. She doesn’t show you the next turn. She doesn’t tell you the full course. You’re given information on a need-to-know basis. You get what you need to know right then…and you have to trust her for the rest.

It dawned on me this morning that my path in life is very much like that. God hasn’t shown me the whole path – just what He wants me to do next. Once I reach that destination, then He proceeds to tell me the next step. I have yet to see the full path, although, by God’s grace, I do know that one day I will reach the destination!

Not long ago I became involved with a client that is part of Africa Inland Missions called Rift Valley Academy. They run a school for the children of Africa and children of Missionaries. When I originally heard they were in Kenya, my heart almost stopped because I remembered my pastor’s prophecy that someone from our church would go to Africa this year on a mission.

When he’d given the prophecy I’d immediately prayed “Please Lord, not me!” I felt God telling me, this is your mission, but I waited on God.

Then the invitation came to travel to Africa – with RVA paying the travel. But as a single Mom, I couldn’t go and leave my kids. Then God opened another door when they offered to provide travel for my kids…and a safari trip too.

The next obstacle was vacation time, which I don’t have much of being new to my company. But while having dinner one night with one of my company’s owners, I was informed that this wasn’t a problem because they had only weeks ago discussed RVA and doing some pro-bono for the client. They would offer 40 hours of my time to RVA as pro-bono work, which meant I didn’t have to take any vacation time to go.

My heart literally flipped! I almost cried just sitting there at the dinner table! I could see God charting my path to Africa as clearly as I could see it if Gerty Garmin had it on the little purple highway on her screen! I got the passport application filled out, checked on the immunizations I’d need, and was looking for the kinds of needs RVA had for me and my children to fulfill while we were there.

Then a funny thing happened. God said “Recalculating directions”, and I wasn’t supposed to go.
I still don’t know why because God has yet to show me the path I’m on and why this is not my time to go to Africa. Maybe it was a test of obedience, and God just wanted to see if He sent me, would I go.

What I do know is that right now I’m on the path He has designed for me. Right now, I’m to stay put, be an active mother to my children, a friend to my friends, write what He gives me, and wait for the next instruction.

This is a matter of trust, just like we had to trust Gerty yesterday to give us the right path home. For about an hour and a half we were wondering what she’d gotten us into! Then she showed us West Kentucky Parkway, and we knew she was right.

I know God’s plans for me are the best plans. He seeks to prosper me, and to provide the best possible future for me. Sometimes I wish He would show me His ways, but perhaps if He did, I’d be less likely to follow. So in His infinite wisdom, He just says “continue travelling 23 miles” and I have to hold His hand and follow where He leads me.

The minute I let go and decide to chart my own path, He’s quick to “recalculate directions” as well. That’s called grace. Sometimes it’s a rocky path to teach me to stay on course, and sometimes it’s just a detour that leads to nothing and He gives me a contrite heart of repentance to realize I was wrong and turn around. But He never leaves me without direction.

Thank you, Father God, for being my life travel companion. Thank you for charting the best course for me. Thank you for keeping the path hidden to shield me from the fear of its hills and valleys. Help me to wait for your directions. Amen.

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