“Recalculating Route”

When a friend visited from another state, she used the GPS function of her phone to help her get around. I was in the car with her on one trip where we had to go to downtown Dallas and weren’t sure how to get where we were going. At one point, the friendly little GPS lady instructed her to turn right and she demurred, saying, “I don’t think that’s right.” And she continued on through the intersection.

Just as I was starting to smile at the craziness of a visitor unfamiliar with the city disagreeing with the directions to a place she’d never been to, the GPS lady announced, “Recalculating route. . .” and then, seconds later, she instructed us to make turns that would get us back on track.

There was no shame or condemnation in her voice. She didn’t pout or yell. She didn’t accuse, “You stupid idiot! I told you to turn! Why didn’t you turn? You never listen to me. How are you going to get where you want to go if you don’t listen to me?”

She simply said, “Recalculating route.”

How like our heavenly Father! He directs us in the way we should go. When we deviate from the path, He doesn’t yell at us, because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). He recalculates the route and redeems the detour for His glory and our good. It will still cost us, because actions have consequences and disobedience comes with a price tag, but the discipline is always delivered with the hand of love.

As my friend now heeded “the lady,” following her instructions to make several turns to get back on the right route, I thought about the time we were losing because of her independence and wrong belief that she knew better, even though she didn’t know the city. We eventually got to where we needed to go, but not without the cost of time. God tells us that He who began a good work in us will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). He’s running the GPS of our lives; He knows perfectly the map of the terrain and knows the best way to get where He wants us to go. It may not be the route we would have chosen since we don’t know enough to choose the best for ourselves, but He knows what He’s doing and it pays to trust Him.

When my friend got back home, she commented that her trusty GPS always got her where she needed to go, and every single time she thought she knew better, she was wrong. She heard “recalculating route” more times than she cared to admit.

But the GPS lady’s voice was always friendly, non-judgmental, non-condemning. And my friend learned something about God’s heart in the process: He loves her and knows she’s a work in progress. He doesn’t get angry when it takes her multiple times to learn what He is teaching her. He recalculates the route, patiently and with love, because He knows where He’s taking her and exactly how and when they’ll get there. His omniscience and sovereignty mean that she can’t mess up His plans. It may cost her something to get to the final destination, but in love He will redeem the time and use it all to build character and Christlikeness into her.

Leave it God to teach a heart lesson in grace from a mechanical voice!

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor. She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions. Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.


  • Sharifa Stevens

    HA! This is such a great
    HA! This is such a great analogy, Sue. Especially poignant since my hubby and I "distrusted" the GPS on a recent trip to a new city…to our frustration (and sometimes to our peril). The GPS lady does have a kind and patient voice, doesn’t she? :o)

    • Sue Bohlin

      The GPS lady

      Thanks, Sharifa!

      We’ve discovered that as long as you input the currect destination address, GPS is a great thing. Unlike Mapquest, which cannot be trusted. (But Google Maps can!)

      • Sharifa Stevens

        i hate mapquest.

        i hate mapquest.

        vehemently and unwaveringly.

        they have been so consistently wrong or vague (um, what is "unnamed street" and how will that help me????).

        google maps ROCKS.

        hmm…yes. mapquest=unorthodox, stale. google maps=evolving

  • gina

    U turn
    Thank you for the article. I am in the process of my own U turn. I was raise in the church and raised my two children in the church, taught Sunday school and was a youth leader. Until my mother become terminal ill and I then focused my time to be spent with her. After her death I have become not only a full time working mother of two young adult women and a wife but also a part time care taker of my elderly father. Some where I have become lost. I have began a downward spiral of drinking and some occasional drugs, which i am very ashamed of. I stopped going to church because i feel unsatisfied at my current church. This weekend my twenty year daughter took me to her church and the message was on a similar topic as your U turn message. I want to get my life right and regain my walk with Jesus Christ. I have spiraled out of control so much that now I feel my marriage may be in trouble if this continues. I need help to have the strength to change. I pray that God will help and forgive me and change me

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