Living in a new city has meant lots of things. It has meant that I need to stop leaving chapstick in the car, where it will promptly melt into a surprisingly greasy spot on your car seat. It has meant that I had to make a bucket list of coffee shops, so that I don't keep ordering mediocre cold brew if there is excellent cold brew 2 blocks down. It also means that I use Siri for EVERYTHING. She tells me when the sun comes up. She tells me how far it is from here to Cincinnati (1,575 miles). She tells me where to find books and coffee in the same place. She tells me where I want to go, how to get where I am going, and exactly how long it is going to take me get there. (*Disclaimer* My Siri is actually an Australian man voice, but it feels weird to call Siri a 'he'. )
This afternoon I was headed to a smoothie cafe to meet up with a sweet new friend. I plugged in my phone, turned the speaker volume way up so that I could still listen to a book on CD (The History of Love), typed in the location, and hit start. A few minutes down the road my Australian navigator verbally affirmed my ability to follow directions.
"You are on the fastest route. You will arrive at your destination in 12 minutes."
And I found myself comparing Siri - the manmade, handheld, Australian-accented GPS voice - to God. This was not a thought out moment. It was an immediate, "Why can't You be more like Siri, God?!" moment. This was also not one of my proudest revelations, but it was the truth of my unfiltered honesty. My selfish heart has created an image of a Siri-god. I ask for immediate guidance, concise directions, and exact arrival times. I want pre-warning of all possible hangups and a simple, mostly 2-way street bypass around said hangups. I want to know when it's safe to put another person in the car and jump in the carpool lane. I want to be told the entire way that I am on the fastest route.
That is not what life is like with the true God leading us. This life means that "destination" may be a fuzzy idea or tugging on your heart. How many books have we read or leaders have we listened to who tell of a time when they were blindly walking in what the Lord was guiding them towards? And how often have those "destinations" then led to a greater dream than could have been imagined? So many great leaders throughout history and the Word walked towards completely unknown destinations. Noah had literally never experienced rain. Jochebed - Moses's mother - had to realize the risk of placing her son into the river. Abraham even headed in the direction of the last destination that he could possibly want for his son. Yet, each time the Lord proves faithful. He placed the ark on dry mountaintop, Moses into a palace, and provided the perfect sacrifice in place of Isaac.
You would think that the knowledge of these things would keep me walking more confidently and patiently, but no. I am asking for clarity far more often than I am leaning into the peace that the Spirit brings. I create my own backup route, just in case the one that my perfect and loving Father creates doesn't pan out. I seek affirmation of the steps that I am taking from the people around me before I ask the Navigator.
And you know what? He keeps on navigating. He never shakes His head and sends us on our way. He doesn't disconnect like the loss of 3G in the middle of a cornfield. He is constantly present behind us and in front of us. I know that His timing is perfect and that the fastest route isn't the route that leads me closer to Him. In seasons that begin to feel a little like wandering, lean in. Let's make looking more like Jesus our only destination. Let's make progress towards that through the detours.