When I’m traveling by car to a place I haven’t been before I (Ray) hope I get where I want to go, on the best route, and on time. One of my Christmas gifts last year was a GPS unit from my daughter and son-in-law. Six months later, a week before my recent trip to Virginia I finally opened the box, read the instructions, installed the unit in my car, and entered the information it needed to tell me the best route to get to where I wanted to go in Virginia. But I wanted to test it first to be sure it would tell me the truth (give me what I knew to be the right directions). So I entered the address of my church, which is just ten minutes from my home. Well – good news – it told me the truth about getting to the church.
In the instructon manual was a notice that if I deviated from the route it had set for me, it would recalculate and give me directions to get back on the route it had given me. As you might know, a GPS doesn’t just show you a map with directions. It actually speaks words which tell you where to turn to stay on or get back to the route it wants you to take. If you don’t do what it says, it keeps repeating the revised directions. I had that experience once when riding with a friend in his GPS equipped car. Normally you hear a pleasant female voice, which tells you what to do to get back on the right route. However, if you insist on going your way, it might just be my imagination, but it seems that the voice gets more and more annoyed with your disrespect for its authority. Before too long it seems to become a really nagging voice.
So you have to make a decision. Either you turn off the voice or you do what it says. Now, if you turn it off, you have to realize that you’ll be on your own and might end up in some place totally different from where you want to go. On the other hand, if you do what the voice says, you have to give up the idea that you know better than all of the accumulated knowledge of scientists and inventors down through the ages, which finally resulted in this GPS unit sitting in your car, giving you directions, and almost all the time being right. You have to accept that if your hope is to get where you want to go, over the best route and on time, that hope will almost always be fulfilled if you obey the GPS unit.
That sounded kind of familiar to me. It sounded something like how God works with human beings as we travel on the journey of life in this world. Very simply, isn’t it a matter of tuning in to God, telling God what you want to do with your life (your goals), then listening for His directions as to how to accomplish those goals, and finally obeying Him? And if we do make some mistakes along the way, doesn’t God forgive us and then give us revised directions to get us back on the right road to our the destination we have chosen?
Yes, I believe all this is true, except for one thing. The way the GPS unit works is that you decide and then tell the GPS unit where you want to go. It doesn’t get involved in decision making about your destination. That’s entirely in your hands. Unless you tell it where you want to go there’s no point in hoping that it will tell you how to get there. It will totally ignore you.
But that’s not the way God works. God is not just concerned with road trips, of course. God is concerned with the life-long journey He gives each one of us. Every aspect of the journey of life always begins with God. You don’t have to tell God where you want to go (your goals in life). That’s because before you were born He had already chosen your destinations (goals) for you, as well as the directions to their fulfillment. All you have to do is keep yourself tuned in to God, listen to Him, and do what He says. If you do that, He will always give you the best destination, route, and schedule. He will give you everything you need to get where He has planned for you to go to have a meaningful and fulfilling life. Unlike the GPS unit, which can make mistakes, God always gets it right. This means that if you choose to say yes to what God has chosen for you in terms of destination, directions, and schedule, you can always hope that you will live a fulfilling life, and that hope will always be fulfilled.
We (Patty and Ray) can tell you from personal experience that this is how God works. When we have set our own goals, directions, and schedules – sometimes things have worked out ok – for a time. But sooner or later we have found that a decision to do things our way instead of God’s way, leads to a dead end. And once we realized that, God was (and still is) always waiting for us right where we were. He enabled us to learn from our past self-centered decisions, and gave us updated destinations, decisions, and schedules, so that we could again expect our hopes for lives of peace, love, and joy to be fulfilled.
If you have hopes for a meaningful and fulfilling life of peace, love, and joy, even when that seems not to be possible, we urge you to take time to do what has worked for us. Tune in to God, listen for, accept, and live according to the goals, directions, and, schedule He has planned for you. If you do that consistently, your hopes will be fulfilled.
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.