Her name is Lola. She's a bit on the bossy side but she doesn't eat much so I think I'll keep her around. I like Lola. She gets me where I need to go and generally in a most expedient fashion.
Lola is the family nickname for the resident GPS system in my car. Now I sometimes wonder how I got places back when I had to route every journey on Mapquest and then fumble through pages of directions...all while driving. No fumbling with Lola. She just barks out orders and then announces her "recalculation" in a mildly irritated voice when I fail to obey her every command.
Lola is smart but occasionally she sends me somewhere via a most circuitous route. Because I tend to blindly follow her lead, it could be weeks or even months before I realize she's taken me around when I could have gone straight through.
This morning's passage is Matthew 3. John the Baptist, the just older cousin of Jesus, is in the desert region surrounding the Jordan River. He dresses oddly, smells funny and still has people flocking to his side to be baptized.
John was not much to look at and I doubt an impressive linguist. His sermons could scarcely be classified as multi-syllabic since essentially every one was "Repent!" Long before the invention of satellites, people found their way to John. One day Jesus himself was counted among the crowd.
Approximately seven hundred years prior to John's birth, the prophet Isaiah had predicted he would come as a "voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (Isaiah 40:3, also Verse 3)
John's mission was two-fold: 1) testify about and 2) prepare for Jesus. John could not have used my friendly GPS because she has a tendency to take me wandering. Only a straight path is appropriate for Jesus. Do I make the way straight for Jesus or do I expect Him to follow me around in circles long after He's mapped the course for me? I must admit, like Lola, I sometimes get sidetracked. This happens for one of three reasons:
- The Road is Missing - Sometimes Lola maps a particular route because her software hasn't been updated and she's missing a new road in her memory. Shannon sometimes maps a route without consulting the software at all. I assume I can route first and ask Jesus for His blessing later once my plans have been established. This map always leads me to a place I wish I hadn't wandered.
- Loss of Contact - Overcast days can also spell certain doom for Lola's ability to function. On those days she can't navigate because she's lost the connection to her satellite. A prayerless, Bibleless day in my life leads to loss of connection with my Heavenly Satellite Feed. I get out of sync with God and the "me before Jesus" tries to resurface. On a day like that it's better to keep my car parked in the driveway until I've reestablished contact.
- Low Battery/No Power Cord - If I run Lola long enough without recharging her, she simply runs out of juice. So do I. God's intended plan for our lives includes heavenly pauses where we stop running and mapping and just rest. When my battery is running low and no power cord is in sight, I know it is past time to stop navigating and rest.
Jesus, You don't intend for me to take a crooked path. You intend for me to make a straight path for You. I can do that by letting You plot the course, making certain we stay in contact while travelling and resting when my battery gets low. Today I think I'll keep the car in the driveway and spend some extended time consulting my favorite map which is labeled "Holy Bible" and reconnect with it's Author.