GPS & God

Dec 15, 2020

Since this Food For Faith website began ten years ago I have written more than two thousand reflections, some fairly heavy and even a bit unhelpfully dense, and others more gently encouraging.

One of my personal favourites began on a road trip in Italy.

A few years ago travelling in Italy with a friend I rented a car. I picked it up from Termini (along with my friend) in Rome. Our plan was, over three days, to enjoy Tuscany and Umbria. I had never driven in Italy before and had been warned that the way the Italians drive is proof that they believe in God.

I hired the car only because it had GPS. The agent at the rental counter assured me that the GPS voice could speak in English adding that this little box would guide me to whatever destination I typed.  

As we drove away from Termini it was the job of my passenger to operate the navigation system. We got it working only after a couple of hours of confusion including one particularly difficult half hour when we drove through the same motor-way toll three times.  

Within a short time the GPS was working well giving us clear directions exactly when we needed them. Over three days we managed to enjoy several small Italian towns: Assisi, Gubbio, San Gimignano, Siena and Florence among other wonderful villages and roads.  

For the first day we obediently followed every direction of the GPS voice. But it didn’t take too long for us to realise that if we accidentally, or even deliberately misunderstood, ignored or disobeyed the navagation instruction, the GPS would re-route us.

This meant that if we drove a few miles down the wrong road, after a few attempts to get us to “U”-turn our guide would realise that the quickest route to our destination was not to return to the point of deviation, but to move ahead by a new route.

Once we understood this we realised that it was impossible for us to ever be lost, and in this realisation I learnt something wonderful about God.

With God, we are never lost, and the people we love are never lost. In every moment God knows where we are.

It is true that (as with the GPS) I might be in a place that I did not expect to land or want to be. I could end up in a destination that promised all kinds of beauty and pleasure, but did not deliver at all. But the moment I decide that I want to move again towards my ultimate goal, God is present to lead me.  

To be honest it does get a bit tiresome playing at disobeying the GPS. It is fun for a while to be re-found and re-directed, but in the end I realise that it is much easier to get on and stay on the road to where I am going.  

The voice of God speaking to us through the scripture and Tradition of the Church offers us clear direction. But when we learn from our own experience we are led in the same life-giving way, to a future full of hope and promise.

When we listen for and live by the leadings of God, Life has a life-giving purpose.

An Invitation:

  • Whenever you get a chance today, stopped at the lights, about to take a phone call, aware of a feeling of tiredness, shame or worry, take 5 seconds to know that Jesus is with you and move ahead together.

16 Comments

  1. A reassuring start to the day…

    With God, we are never lost, and the people we love are never lost. In every moment God knows where we are.

    Relief and hope in equal measures.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • I am feeling really lost. It was good to read that with God we are never lost.

      Reply
    • I like the thought that when I do get lost God will lead me by the best way back to him wherever I am

      Reply
  2. How true Fr John. Travelling can be frustrating. Thanks for reminder we are never alone on life’s journey.

    Reply
  3. with God, I am never alone

    Reply
  4. And like the GPS when re-directing us God doesn’t yell at us or throw a fit (usually) he calmly recalculates us towards the banquet. Thank Fr John for all your insights.

    Reply
  5. Great image John. No doubt many more tales to tell..

    I’m reminded of the Hato Paora motto
    I āu mahi katoa, whaia, whaia te tika
    In all your undertakings, pursue what is right
    (And you’ll stay on the right track)

    Reply
  6. Profound yet simple food for thought for today. Thank you Father John.

    Reply
  7. Romans 8:28 We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good.

    Even when we take a wrong turn, God is always there to guide us back to the main road.

    Reply
  8. Got me again, tears and the wonderfull warmth of His presence.
    It is always us that move away with the worries of the day etc
    Not God moving away from us reminds me of a song that was playing on Rhema with words hello Jesus in home again.

    Reply
  9. A wonderful reminder at this time ! I needed it?

    Reply
  10. Loving these food for faith meditations. Found today’s so encouraging and reassuring , God is in control and as he promised in his word .. ‘ nothing can separate us from his love’, ( and our final destination with him). Love the gps analogy. Thank you Fr John, a wonderful start to my day.

    Reply
  11. How comforting and encouraging I find your meditation today, reminding my that as in scripture , ” we can never be lost to God”. I liked the analogy of the GPS .. Thank you for these thought provoking daily meditations, I’m so enjoying them.

    Reply
  12. Thank you For John for you daily FFFs. This is a great analogy of God’s voice leading us in our daily lives. I wonder how many of us have the mute button switched on!

    Reply
  13. Thankyou Fr john for
    Your GPS journey,loved it LOTS
    You reminded me to use Gps.
    GPS=
    GOD-PEACE-SAVIOUR.

    Reply
  14. Love this analogy! Thank you!

    Reply

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