I am late to this analogy because I am the last living American to get a GPS. I remember that my friend Paula described this idea many years ago, and it made sense then but I really get it now, now that I've experienced it. It just goes to show you.
I got a hand-me-down GPS just a couple of weeks ago. I had been toying with the thought of possibly considering getting one, but couldn't really justify it because my iphone does almost the same thing (no voice though... you have to read it which is a little dangerous when driving, no?) when my friend offered me hers. She said she never uses it anymore and I leaped at the opportunity. Now, every time I use it (which has only been a few times so far) I'm amazed at how God-like it is. Well, no, it's not God-like, but it reminds me of how this journey with God works.
A professor of mine said that it's not quite right to say that God has a "plan" for our lives. Plans are like a list of directions that we are expected to follow, and if we step off plan, we are hopelessly lost and we're on our own. He said that we could think of it more that God has an "intention" for our lives. Which is to say, God has our destination plotted, but our path toward that destination can (and will) vary. Like with the GPS, we can follow the prompts, but we can also choose our own way- and like the GPS, I believe, God is willing to "recalculate" our path, to again prompt us to move toward His destination for us. So merciful.
I've learned that with the GPS, I have to be moving in order for it to tell me if I'm headed in the right direction. I can't park my car and expect to get anywhere... and in life, this journey requires that I keep walking. In our faith journeys, we must be moving toward coming to know God better, toward working our missions. Wisdom comes from the travels, and it's earned.
Today as I was driving from one place to another, I realized I hadn't heard my GPS' voice in a while and I had a (very) mild panic... had I missed a turn? Had she (she?) been trying to get my attention and I was distracted? Had it come unplugged? Was I hopelessly lost? But I realized that the GPS hadn't said anything because I was just expected to keep going the way I was going. No turns coming up, no exits to take, just stay the course.
It reminded me of how often I'm looking for God to tell me what to do next, to tell me what's coming- to assure me that I'm doing okay. I thought, maybe in my life right now I'm not meant to be getting ready to turn... maybe I'm just meant to carry on until I hear differently. When it's time to go, I have to trust that God will let me know, and help me recalculate.