Spiritual Director · January 9, 2017

Devote #1

I’m sure most of you have used a GPS (Global Positioning System)

Strange as this might sound, even though you use one, some of you might not know how they work. Here’s just a little tidbit of information you might consider interesting. According to one source I read, there are 24 satellites orbiting earth. These 24 satellites are divided into six groups of four and each group travels around the earth on a different orbital track. This orbital track is roughly 20,000 miles above the surface of the earth and can provide location information anywhere on the planet within seconds.

As you’re driving, you see none of that. As a matter of fact, you probably never think about any of that. All you do is obey the commands of the voice that says, “In one mile, turn right.” Most often you don’t even question the voice telling you, “recalculating,” or “rerouting,” but patiently (or sometimes impatiently) wait for the little voice to tell you what are your next options. It is then that you promptly obey, without hesitation, believing that what you’ve just been told will get you to where you want to be.

The one that gets me the most is the one that says, “at the next intersection, make a U-turn.” This happens most often because I know where I’m going and how to get to my destination and don’t want to take the route the little voice is prescribing. I know a shortcut, but the little voice keeps telling me to “make a U-turn.” Eventually, as I ignore the suggested route, the little voice complies with my choice of route and decides to do it my way.

Those thoughts rumbled through my mind today as I read what John the Baptist was telling the people. He said…

“Turn back to God!” Matthew 3:2

Other versions of the Bible use the word, “Repent.” In contemporary language it means to make a U-turn. Its means as your life is going in a direction of bad choices, wrong motives, horrible habits (sin), you need to make a 180 degree turn and head in the other direction back towards God.

The problem is, I think I know a shortcut. I think I know where I want to go and I know how to get there. And when the voice of the Holy Spirit starts telling me to make a U-turn, I generally override the information and continue on my merry way, all the while I keep getting lost.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today:

Never be afraid to make a U-turn. Turn back to God. Don’t ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and don’t think that if you just keep going, eventually God will just comply with your wishes. He always has a better route.

When I’m driving my life in the wrong direction and I think I know the way, please tell me to make a U-turn. Forgive me for thinking I can get to my destination without You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.