I set my GPS, who I affectionately refer to as “Dumdum”, and then grabbed an atlas…and my phone to Google directions…just to make sure this recent technological purchase would handle the task of getting me halfway across the country without getting lost. I had never before used one, I had only ever relied on my trusty map book. There’s something about holding a map in your hands and tracing the route with a highlighter, envisioning what the scenery along the route will look like. With my GPS, it offered to do a demo of the route, show me gas stations, hotels, and points of interest. This thing was going out of its way to help me out, but still, I reverted back to my map printed on paper. Yes, I’m one of those dinosaurs that still prefer a physical book to hold in my hands rather than an eBook. I know advancements are great, my kids don’t understand at all my unwillingness to let it all go, but that’s just me.
There’s something about being able to see where you’re going. I don’t mean just see with your eyes, if you’re driving, that’s pretty much a given. I’m talking about seeing in your mind. Being able to contemplate the route, getting yourself excited, or anxious, about what you’ll encounter along the way.
One of my favourite accounts in the Bible is found in Genesis and tells the story of Abram, later Abraham, and his wife Sarai. God laid out a beautiful promise before them:
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you’ I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all people on earth will be blessed through you.’” Genesis 12:1-3
They must’ve been overflowing with excitement at this promise, and if I were them, I would have begun at that point planning how it would all go. When the first baby would show up, and since he was 75 already, they were probably thinking it had to be very soon, where they would settle, what the land would be like. And if God was promising to bless them it would all work out smoothly, with no effort at all: it would be a cakewalk! That’s the kind of thinking that will get you off track fairly quickly. If you believe that God’s plan and promise are always smooth sailing, you’ll be discouraged before sunset. I know that sometimes it works out easy-peasy but quite often it doesn’t. Quite often it requires patience, something I severely lack, and faith, which also goes through ebbs and flows.
Two things happened to Abram in the following chapters that caused him to develop his own plan, just in case the promise of God needs a bit of help…like if something happened that God hadn’t taken into consideration when the promise was given: a contingency plan! I’m guilty of that, I’ll admit. I didn’t learn a whole lot from my favorite scriptures it seems. Later on in chapter 12, when there was a famine and they went down to Egypt to live, Abram feared he would be killed because Sarai was so beautiful, and they would want him out of the picture so she could belong to them. He decided that it would be a good idea to tell everyone she was his sister so that he would be able to live…after all, if they killed him, he couldn’t be the father of many nations, could he?
It didn’t go well, you can read the story in Genesis 12:10-20, and actually I’d say he was doing pretty well not be killed for the lie he told and the trouble that ensued because of it. God must’ve protected him even though he thought he needed to blaze his own trail, follow his own map. He didn’t learn though because further on, in Genesis 16, he and Sarai come up with another detour because too much time had passed and still the crib was empty. Again, trying to map their own route, a lot of needless trouble ensues, and again God stays with them. In the end, God’s word is fulfilled, which it always is, but only in the time He had allotted.
The point I’m trying to make in all of this is, don’t get caught up trying to map out every detail of how things that God promises will go. Enjoy the ride, the scenery, the company. Allow God, the ultimate GPS, to tell you about rest stops, points of interest, and the destination. Allow Him to guide you along, you just take His ques and listen to His direction. Don’t worry about a contingency plan to help Him along, no matter what the situations look like, He knows what He’s doing! I need to take a dose of my own medicine, learn from Abram’s story and allow life to unfold. I hope I’m not alone in this, I hope we can all learn to trust God with our journey.