I had a bit of a nightmare with my mobile phone last week after swapping network providers and ended up with no service. My business comes to a complete standstill without a mobile so I went onto Vodafone’s online chat service hoping for a solution. After spending an-hour-and-a-half typing away to a mixture of robots and people in far off lands, I was told I needed to go to a Vodafone shop to get the issue fixed. Great!
I had a late meeting in Yate to attend before I could head to the shop in Cribbs Causeway, a place I avoid like the plague at the best of times as I don’t like all the roundabouts. Trouble was, I didn’t know how to get there from Yate. Although my phone had no service, I discovered the Sat Nav app I use on my phone could keep one route in its memory if it was added whilst the phone was connected to wi-fi so I used my client’s wi-fi, entered ‘Cribbs Causeway’ and set off.
After a while, Sat Nav Sally decided to take me on the back roads towards Thornbury, which made me nervous because if I lost connection, I would have no idea how to get back onto a familiar road. Nevertheless, before long I was on the A38 and began to relax: I knew where I was! All I had to do now was follow the A38 onto the M5 and the rest would be plain sailing (apart from the dreaded roundabouts, but at least it would be signposted from there). Trouble was, Sat Nav Sally had other ideas and asked me to take a right turn before the M5. There was a momentary internal battle as instinct told me to carry on to the M5, but something made me follow the instructions I had been given and I turned right.
This was a country road that I had never gone down before and as followed its winding path, I started to worry once again as I knew I couldn’t re-set the Sat Nav without a wi-fi connection if I got lost. Then another thought also entered my brain: ‘What if I end up stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way of ringing anyone for help?’ It really is incredible how reliant we can become on our digital technology. What did people do before mobiles?
So, there I was driving and worrying and getting further and further away from civilisation, when a little voice inside my head said, “This is exactly how you feel when God takes you down an unfamiliar path and you have no land marks; everything looks different and you don’t know where you are any more. When that happens, experience tells you to have faith, listen to God’s guidance regardless of the fear, and He always leads you to where you need to be. This journey is just the same!”
So I pulled myself together and told myself that Sat Nav Sally had a much better sense of direction than I did and I really should trust that she knew the best route to Cribbs Causeway. I carried on through the meandering country lanes and it wasn’t too long before I saw signs for Cribbs and was greeted by the dreaded roundabouts (I never thought I’d be so pleased to see them!). It was early evening so I am guessing the Sat Nav had just helped me avoid congestion on the M5.
In the same way, when we listen to God’s guidance, we can avoid the obstacles that hinder us from being where He wants us to be. His Word (The Bible) offers us direction whatever circumstance we find ourself in; it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119: 105), which clearly guides our steps when we are unsure where to place them. The route He leads us on may feel scary or we may question the direction he sends us, but the Bible tells us to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart’, and not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The next verse says that if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). When we keep our minds on God and serve Him as He calls, His voice becomes clearer and we can discern where He is leading us: along the paths of righteousness (Psalm 32: 3). That’s better guidance than any Sat Nav I know!