A Tale of Three Warnings

A Tale of Three Warnings

I was warned.
But I didn’t listen.

It was Saturday morning and I was headed up to Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. to visit a wee little friend.
Although I have been to the hospital many times, I still like to put it in my GPS just so I have a heads up about what turns to take.
And, of course, the GPS always provides several ways for me to go.
None of them are pretty.
So I usually pick the one that I know best.
It is somewhat familiar territory so I feel like I have the best chance of getting in and out of the city unscathed.

But Saturday morning, the GPS didn’t give me three options as it normally does.
It only gave me one.
My least favorite option of the three because it involves the Capital Beltway, which always feels to me like a game of Russian Roulette with cars instead of guns.
I knew there was a marathon happening in the city on Saturday.
But I thought, “Oh, it will clear out before I get there. Runs happen early in the day. I’ll be fine.”

I opted to ignore the GPS and go my own way.
All seemed well.
As I smugly thought, “See, this isn’t so bad.”

And it wasn’t.
At first.
So when the GPS announced part way there that it had a faster route even on this known way, I hit “Ignore.”
After all, sticking with the familiar was much safer.
I knew what lay ahead.
I knew what lane to be in and when to be in it.
What turns to take.
And I was only a few miles away.
So how bad could it be?

Until we stopped dead in the 395 tunnel under the city streets.
Five lanes of brake lights at that point.

And again, the GPS tried to redirect me.
There was a ramp out of the tunnel onto an unfamiliar street.
However, I was three lanes away from that ramp – and the traffic on it was already a string of brake lights as well.
So I decided it was easier – better – to stay where I was.
Stick with the known rather than risk the unknown.
After all, how bad could it be?

I was less than two miles from the hospital.
And it took me the better part of an hour to go those two miles.
Two stinking miles.
SO. FRUSTRATING.

As I sat in the tunnel, breathing in exhaust from hundreds of other vehicles creeping along with me, I was very, very frustrated.
Yes, with traffic.
But mostly with myself.
Why did I decide I knew better than the GPS?
THREE TIMES I decided I knew better.
Even though it is a “real time” device.
With a bird’s eye view.
Containing knowledge I did not have.
A perspective I could not see.

Did I make it to the hospital?
Sure.
But I could have saved myself A LOT of time and trouble along the way.
If only I had heeded the guidance system and its warnings.

——

As a believer, a Christ-follower, you and I have an amazing “GPS” device for life.
In fact, we have two!
The Holy Spirit of God lives inside.
And the Living Word of God.

The Word, the Bible, is like a road map, telling us in advance the best ways to go.
What to avoid.
What to embrace.
How to live.
Over and over again, I see studies published that confirm what God has always said.
Like, couples who live together before marriage struggle more after marriage.
Or children grow best in intact, nuclear families.
Forgiveness benefits the forgiver.
And we do best when we don’t try to carry around stress.

All of these are things that God said long ago in the Bible.
And all have been confirmed by social scientists.
Imagine that!

But here is the thing – not only do we have the best way to live mapped out for us in His Word, we are also equipped with a real-time, eye-in-the-sky, all-knowing Guidance System in our souls.
The Holy Spirit.
Indwelling every Christ-follower.
Willing and able to direct us in the very best ways to go.

I don’t know another person’s heart, motives, or thinking.
I know what they show me – but only God sees the heart.
And so I have to trust the Holy Spirit to guide me.
First by applying the principles of Scripture to the situation.
Then asking Him for His wisdom, which He has promised to give. (James 1)
And then by letting Him “speak” to my heart through nudges, whispers, repeated confirmations, circumstances, wise council of godly people, Bible verses – so many ways.
And when all those things line up with Scripture, when they are repeated or even when I just have a deep peace in my soul about what I am “hearing”, I know His voice.
I know He is guiding.
And I know I need to obey.
Even when what He is asking me to do seems risky. Or even foolish.
Even when it is off the path I normally would take.

But here’s the thing.
So often I don’t hear Him.
Because I choose to not listen.
Or I hear Him, but I still choose to go my own way.
Or worse yet, the world’s way.
Listening to the voice of culture rather than The Voice of Truth.
The whispers of my feelings rather than the call to love for the sake of Love Himself.

Just like the streets of D.C., I am often on unfamiliar ground.
I don’t know what I don’t know.
And it feels risky to obey those promptings at times.
So I often choose to stick with the familiar.
The known.
The seemingly safe.
My way instead of His way.

And every single time that I do, I end up regretting it.
He is good and so I still end up getting to wherever it is He needs me to be.
But it takes longer.
I end up frustrated along the way.
Damaged.
Or at the very least, disturbed.
Making a tough situation worse because I thought I knew better.
Instead of resting in His love, trusting His heart, and walking in obedience to Him.

King David, who knew a thing or two about ignoring God, going his own way and reaping the consequences, wrote this in Psalm 32:
“The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.””

My rewrite and my prayer for you and me:
“The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like Kathy who ignores the GPS,
who ends up frustrated and stuck because she thinks she knows best.”

This week, may we spend time studying the Map that is the Word of God.
Getting to know His voice.
Yielding to His prompting.
Following His lead.

It’s the only safe way to live!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s