One of the marvels of modern technology is the Global Positioning System (gps). Through a series of satellites in the sky anyone with a receiver can determine their exact position here on earth. Aircraft and ships use this technology to find their way across the skies and oceans of the world. When the gps is connected to a computer, the captain can input the route he wants to fly and the gps will take him to the exact point he wants to be, no matter how far away and how many variables are thrown at his craft. This wonderful technology is also available for motor cars in the form of a small device that can fit in the palm of your hand. The little box is mounted to the car’s windscreen or can also be built into some of the more expensive modern cars. These little marvels contain maps of entire countries and once you input the street address of your destination, it will guide you to the exact house, even if the journey takes thousands of miles.

I rely on one of these little gadgets to find my way around the massive Los Angeles and never cease to be amaze at its incredible accuracy. The gps will tell you exactly where and when to turn and even names the street and counts you down to the precise point at which you need to turn. It also knows when you take a wrong turn or miss a corner and will immediately tell you that it is recalculating the route and will bring you back on course. There does not seem to be a single ally or turn that it is not aware of.

Would it not be wonderful to have such a device for life that would guide you through every turn, decision and obstacle of life until you reach your final destination? The amazing thing is that long before man designed his version of gps, God already designed His version. The Lord’s version is also a GPS, except it is short for “God Positioning System”. Just like the machine on my dashboard knows exactly where I am, God knows exactly where we are on the route of life. There is no place we can stray or hide from His eye. “His eyes are on the ways of man, And He sees all his steps.” (Job 34:21). It is such a comfort to know we can never go so far astray that He cannot find us and instantly recognize our position. Of course there are times we wish He did not see everything, but when we feel lost and frustrated it is a great joy to know that “You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:2-3).

One of the limitations of gps is that you need to tell the gadget what your destination is and without this information it cannot direct you. But God’s GPS knows exactly what our objective is. Even when we don’t know our purpose or reason for existence, God knows. (Sometimes we have our own idea of where we want to head and often that conflicts with the Lord’s idea, but His is always the better goal). Sometimes He discloses the goal to us, but often we have to simply trust Him knowing that He has the best possible plan for our lives.

Just like gps provides me with exact directions to my end-goal, so GPS also gives precise instructions. There have been times that I have thought I knew better than the machine and disregarded its prompts only to discover that the gps is right every time. (It takes a lot of relearning to discover not to trust one’s instinct and to trust a little box). The Lord knows the way and He leads us step-by-step. The problem is that we far too often think that we can make our own way in life. Jeremiah said: “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). How many times do we not have to end up a cul de sac before we learn not to trust our own ability at navigating life, but to trust in Him and to know that even if the way seems right to us, it may in fact, lead to our destruction? (Proverbs 14:12).

Praise the Lord that even when we take one of our many detours, He instantly knows that we have strayed and sends us the warnings that we are no longer on the right path. If we would only heed His voice, then He will guide us back on the right track. Even when we have strayed very far off course, we are never out of His reach and we are never so lost that he cannot restore us to His paths. Yes, sometimes we are so willful that He has to resort to plan “B”, but by His grace, He will always recalculate the course to the best possible outcome. (Jeremiah 18:4). The big question is whether we will hear His directions and follow His lead. Sometimes my car radio is louder than the gps or I am distracted so that I miss a vital instruction and sometimes the clamor of the world is so loud that we do not hear the voice of the Shepherd. Yes, He is speaking and directing, but we are not listening. Even when we do hear the directions, unfortunately we often choose to ignore them and when we end up in a dead-end, we blame the Lord. But He does not make mistakes. His directions are perfect. When we do go astray, it is only because we have not followed the directions of our GPS.

The gps knows every possible route in America and can calculate millions of possible courses but it only gives you the one immediate command that is relevant. We often expect the Lord to lay out a map of our entire lives, but He does not. He gives us one command, one step at a time. One of the reasons for this is because every subsequent step depends on the step we are taking right now. Each step we take determines how and where He will lead on the next one because we are not like trains on a track that can only go in one direction. Our free choice results in the Lord many times having to make corrections to our course. One of the other reasons He does not throw the whole book at us is because we would become discouraged if we knew what was still awaiting us. And so he leads us one instruction at a time. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)

We have a choice. We can waste a lot of time going about in circles and possibly even missing the goal. Or we can follow the instructions of the God Positioning System and thus save ourselves a lot of trouble and attain to the goal He has set for us. If only we could learn to worry less about trying to work out the route ourselves and be more diligent at simply following His commands.

“Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:8,10)