"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11)
Jenny and I recently purchased a Garmin. We bought it in Los Angeles during the week of orientation for my daughter's freshman year at college. We thought a "global positioning system" would come in handy on our trips to California for both ministry opportunities and visits with Misha. Now we can navigate our way through any city or state... (while also making it possible for any overarching authority in the country to keep track of us; but I digress!)
The system is helpful, especially when it is not safe to attempt reading a map while driving. A calm and confident female voice tells you where to go and, if you miss a turn, simply says, 'recalculating.' She never yells at you or calls you an idiot or scolds you for not listening to directions. She is the perfect driving companion.
She does have one shortcoming, however. She doesn't think; she only tells you what she's been told.
During our most recent trip to the east coast we told our GPS the address of an old friend in Annapolis, Maryland. We had an engagement in Delaware and thought it would be nice to visit her on our way back to New Jersey where we were staying, as we often do, at Jenny's mother's house. We typed in the right house address but the wrong town and, upon realizing our error, corrected it. No big deal. Our GPS girl (whom an acquaintance dubbed "Garmina") got us there, and we enjoyed our time with our friend, spending the night in her lovely home.
The next morning, I stumbled out of bed and my own internal GPS said, "GO FOR COFFEE!" I headed into town, certain I would find a Starbucks or something similar somewhere along the way. I drove a while and, before arriving in the heart of Annapolis, I hit heavy traffic. Frustrated, (and still coffeeless) I headed back the way I came. In the early morning pre-caffeine mental muddle, I overshot the street I thought led back to the house. Further frustrated, I stopped to turn the car around and...voila...directly in front of me was the green, white and black of a Starbucks sign! I sighed with excitement and whispered a little thank you heavenward for divine non-Garmin guidance.
With joy in my heart and a latte in my hand, I decided to let the GPS lead me, since I was unsure as to how to find my way back. I tapped and tapped until I found the proper address and started to drive, so proud of myself that I had figured out how to operate my new device and could count myself a citizen of the 21st century!
Garmina dutifully told me to turn right on a street, the name of which I recognized. So far so good. Then she directed me to a road I didn't recognize, but I figured she knew better and was taking me an alternate route. From there she led me to a freeway and, I have to admit, I started to wonder what she was thinking. One highway led to another...and another...and another...and before I knew it, what should have been a five minute drive had become a half hour journey with no end in sight. Needless to say I was not happy with my girl's decisions and I told her so! (She didn't respond.)
FINALLY...she told me I was arriving at my destination...and I did. Amazingly, it was the correct house number and street name...but the WRONG TOWN! Then I remembered. She was reading the pre-corrected information we had given her. She was only doing what she was told. I apologized to her for questioning her decisions, admitted my mistake, sheepishly punched in the post-corrected info, and away we went.
I was embarrassed and flustered and concerned that Jennifer was anxious as to my whereabouts (since I had not taken my cell phone.) To calm myself down I started to flip through radio stations, hoping to find something interesting. I went from one to another and as I did, I heard some music that sounded vaguely familiar. As I listened, a pleasant enough voice began singing: "You have shown me Your paths, Oh Lord. In Your presence is fullness of joy! In Your right hand are pleasures, in Your right hand are pleasures, in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore, pleasures forevermore!"
I was shocked! I exclaimed (to no one in particular), "That's my song! Who is singing my song? I never heard this before! Someone owes me money!! (Sorry about that last one...but I thought it.) Then I realized...IT WAS I WHO WAS SINGING! The song was "Pleasures Forevermore" from my first album, "I Call You Friend." I didn't recognize myself because, even though I've been writing, singing and recording for decades, I had NEVER heard myself on the radio! This was the first time...EVER!!
I continued to listen to the station, (which turned out to be "Family Radio"), and hurried back, hoping Jenny wasn't upset with me and reflecting on what had just occurred.
Had I not gotten lost, I would not have heard myself sing on the radio. I hope it doesn't sound self-indulgent but...I was kind of excited to hear it! In spite of a frustrating and confusing morning, I wondered if that incident had been the finger of the Lord, tapping me on my shoulder. I don't want to read too much into it but, sometimes I think He does that; just to let us know He's there...just to let us know we're not lost...at least not really!
Garmina succeeded in returning me to our friend's house. Jenny was, thankfully, still asleep. And, as I enjoyed my early morning latte, I quietly marveled at the thought that G-d could care enough about someone like me, that He would send me a delightful surprise out of nowhere...in the middle of nowhere! When I thought I was hopelessly lost...He let me know I was mercifully found! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...(even when it comes through the radio.)
Or perhaps it was just a crazy, random coincidence. Who knows? Whatever the case, I know this: He DOES show me the path of life and in His presence is fullness of joy! My ride back to my friend's home was a joyful one and, when I related my tale to her, we had a good laugh.
As a matter of fact, I think we need to laugh more in general. We are not lost. He knows the way we take, even when we make mistakes and find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. It's good to have a GPS girl to help us when she can...but it is our G-d who will lead us home!!
Yours on the journey,