Friday, June 21, 2013

Your GPS

When my son was a young boy he belonged to the DeQueen Pioneers Pathfinder Club, and I was a Pathfinder leader.  One weekend I took the Pathfinders on a backpacking trip.  We left in the evening and headed to Alexandria, Louisiana. We made it to Alexandria at about midnight.  There I took the eastbound exit off of the interstate instead of the westbound exit.  I wandered around Alexandria for an hour trying to find the right road.  By the time we found the campground it was 1:30 and we still had to pitch our tents.

I would have loved to have some way of knowing the right way to go to reach the campground.  I'm not the only one who has wished for such a device.  For centuries, navigators and explorers have longed for a system that would enable them to locate their position on the globe with the accuracy necessary to avoid tragedy and to reach their intended destinations.

The answer came about because of the Cold War.  U.S. scientists began working on the GPS system because of an Air Force requirement for a guidance system to be used with a proposed ICBM that would travel on a railroad system. On June 26, 1993, the U.S. Air Force launched a satellite into orbit, completing a network of 24 satellites known as the Global Positioning System, or GPS.

This satellite navigation system was intended for military use and therefore the signals were scrambled, limiting accuracy for civilian use.  On May 1, 2000, President Clinton announced that this scrambling would be turned off. Civilians were then able to use the GPS signals.  Soon there were accurate automotive navigation systems available.  Now smart phones come with GPS capability.

I like using my GPS; we have named her Tink. She tells me when to turn. She tells me what lane to be in. On our last trip to Houston to see our son she took us a new way and saved us half an hour.

So now that I have Tink to guide me, I never get lost.  I always know where to go.  Except---

When we first got Tink we were going to Shady Lake. Now I have been to Shady Lake a number of times, and I know how to get there. When Tink wanted me to turn off of my normal route I decided to see where she would take us. She took us on an adventure. She guided us to Shady Lake over forest service roads that hadn't been traveled on in a long time. There was grass growing in the road. We arrived safely at Shady Lake about an hour later than if we had traveled our normal route.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Dierks Lake to see our granddaughters compete in the Pathfinder Adventurer Cardboard Boat Race. Tink wanted us to leave the highway and travel across dirt roads. We declined. On our way home I was curious as to where she wanted to take us so we followed her advice. After travelling on forest service roads we were within just a few miles of the highway when we came to the Cossatot River bridge that was impassable because there was three feet of water flowing over it.

We had to turn around and go all the way back to Dierks Lake so we could take the paved roads. On our way back to the lake we followed Tink and were stymied three different times by locked gates across the roads.  After an hour we finally made our way back.

Sometimes exploring a new road can be quite an adventure. When you are traveling a rural Arkansas road you just don’t know where you will end up.  Sometimes even a GPS doesn't help.

Have you taken any wrong turns in your life?  Have you been on any wrong roads?  How do you know which road to take?

In Psalms 25:4, the Bible says, "Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow".

That sounds like a GPS doesn't it.  God will point out the right road for us to follow.  You can trust him.  You might not always be able to trust your GPS, but you can always trust God.  No matter how knowledgeable you are, you aren't the best choice as navigator. Proverbs 14:12 tells us that, "there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death".

The whole point of being a Christian is to have a knowledgeable navigator to guide us through this life to our eternal destination. Why would we decide not to listen to the best guide there is and use our own judgment instead?

Solomon explained it very well in Proverbs 20:24   “how can we understand the road we travel? It is the LORD who directs our steps.

The only reliable GPS for our spiritual life is God’s word.  The Bible gives us direction.  So many Christians I meet seem to want more than the Bible.  The old reliable Bible isn't enough for them and they want something new. Psalms 119:105 states, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path".  If David and Solomon understood that it was God’s Word that directs our steps why should we feel that there is not enough information in the Bible and feel the need to supplement it?

I hope that you know where you are going. Have you studied the map? Do you have your spiritual GPS? Do you use it?

I hope that you and I will be able to say what David said in Psalms 73:23-26. “Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. I have no one in heaven but you; I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever”.


  1. Those GPSr's are handy tools and can save a lot of time but you have to balance what they tell you with judgement. Where my Dad lives in Idaho there is a problem with tourists trusting the devices too much and end up getting stuck high in the mountains on roads they shouldn't be on.

  2. I think, especially children, should be exposed to the path God shows in the Bible, if for nothing else, than to know they belong to something great.
    The spiritual path is a good path to follow. Sometimes you trip and make the wrong turn but you always come back to the right road.
    Sorta like the GPS. Nothing is ever perfect and judgement comes in to make the right decision to get back to the right road.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Beautiful!

  4. I do know where I'm going. I study the map, and I have my spiritual GPS. Great post, richie!

    Our neighbor calls his GPS "Rhonda" so that when he uses it he can sing, "Help me, Rhonda! Help, help me, Rhonda!" and that is the absolute truth.

    richie, I inadvertently deleted your comment on my shingles post when I re I meant to publish it. May I ask you, please, to send another one? Thanks.

  5. I love having a GPS, I rarely get lost any more. I enjoyed reading this post very much, thank you :) And thank you for the visit.

    Wishing you a happy day,

  6. It sounds as though Tink is not to be trusted giving directions in Arkansas!