Bob Tamasy: In GPS We Trust?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Being among the legion of people fitting the description of “directionally challenged” – we pretty much couldn’t find our way out of a large paper bag – I regard the Global Positioning System (GPS) as one of mankind’s greatest inventions.

How it works, I don’t know. When I’m using my GPS, does President Obama get regular updates on where I am? Is the NSA diligently monitoring my progress? Can the satellite tracking my vehicle tell if I’m eating French fries, or if I’m trying to find the local ESPN affiliate on the radio?

But who cares? It’s just a marvel to me that whether it’s the GPS built into your vehicle, a portable device, or even the navigation app on your smart phone, you tell it where you want to go and it provides a map (plus voice – I think her name is “Gertrude”) to guide you along your way.

Never fails. Right?

On a recent business trip I used the Google Maps app on my phone rather than reacquainting myself with our Garmin, and for the most part it worked great. Except for once. I was driving along the route “Gertie” had instructed when suddenly she announced, “Make a U-turn in 1,000 feet.” No warning. She hadn’t indicated a turn earlier that I had missed. She just wanted me to make a U-turn – and right now. Impulsive, if you ask me.

I thought, “This doesn’t make sense. I’m on the state highway I’m supposed to be on.” I knew because of MapQuest, printed directions I always bring as a stop-gap, in case the GPS gets confused. As had just happened, apparently.

But to be sure – I hate driving miles and miles out of my way, only to waste time backtracking – I did turn at the next light, swung around and headed back toward the intersection. Then Gertie advised me to turn left – back onto the highway, in the same direction I’d been traveling.

Good ole “Trust Me I Never Make a Mistake Gertie” had…made a mistake! Who knew? The next day I drove the same route, and Gertie made the same mistake. She’s sometimes wrong, it seems, but never in doubt.

This got me thinking about the other GPS I’ve used countless times, the one that truly never fails – God’s Positioning System. (I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again.) Early in my journey as a follower of Jesus, I learned this passage: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

My personal life – and often my professional life – have confirmed the truth of these verses. Reviewing the course of my journalistic career is one example. At the outset of my career, as a wet-behind-the-ears editor of a community newspaper in suburban Columbus, Ohio, if someone had explained where my vocational path would lead, I’d have responded emphatically, “I can’t get there from here!” And I would have been right. Because to get to where I am now, I’ve had to go to many other places first.

From New Jersey (where I grew up) to Houston, Texas (where I began college) to Ohio (where I finished college and started my first newspaper job) to suburban Philadelphia, back to Ohio, then to suburban Houston, and finally here to Chattanooga, Tenn. Even after arriving in Chattanooga, God has taken my family and me in directions we couldn’t have anticipated.

But unlike with Gertie and my Google Maps app, God’s directions have never failed. That’s not to say there haven’t been times – many times – when I wondered, “Lord, do You know what You’re doing?” In retrospect I’ve learned His answer has always been, “Yes, I do. Why do you ask?”

Proverbs 3:5-6 has a few caveats, however. We have to trust in the Lord – and not in ourselves. If we try to lean on our own understanding instead, we’ll find ourselves more confused than Gertie the Google Maps lady.

And hardest of all is acknowledging God in all our ways. We like to hold the Lord in reserve, kind of like a spare tire. “If I need you, I’ll let You know.” Many times we’re willing to acknowledge anything but God. But if – and when – we do submit to Him, recognizing He’s got a much better idea of what we need and where we need to go, He will indeed make our paths straight.

Even if those “straight paths” result in crisscrossing the map.

Global Positioning System? Accurate much of the time. God’s Positioning System? Accurate all of the time. I highly recommend it!

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Good Neighbors To Bestow Awards And Celebrate The 64th Anniversary Of Their Mission On Saturday

The Good Neighbors, Inc. will  celebrate its 64th anniversary of  the dream that Dr. William "Uncle Bill" and his wife, Maudette Whiteside, had on Saturday.   The mission of the organization is "to provide help to those in need; promoting and strengthening good will and relationships between people; giving advice and comfort to persons of sorrow, affliction and ... (click for more)

The Union Gospel Mission To Host Free BBQ Lunch On Labor Day

The Union Gospel Mission on Thursday announced their plans for their Labor Day Fund Raiser serving free BBQ plate lunches to the general public; donations will be accepted/encouraged. UGM's director, Rev. Jon Rector said, “Last year’s Labor Day BBQ was a great success! Accepting generous donations from those who could give, while introducing our ministry to others and making ... (click for more)

Maryville Police Department's Kenny Moats Slain

Officer Kenny Moats of the Maryville Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on Thursday.  Officer Moats was with the department for over nine years and was currently serving as a drug enforcement agent. Assistant Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security David Purkey said, "It is with heavy heart that I express my condolences ... (click for more)

Auto Burglary Thwarted In Bradley County

A man has been arrested in Bradley County, after attempting to steal a vehicle. On Thursday, Deputy Jessica Morgan observed a silver truck in a church parking lot on South Lee Highway. While checking the premises, Dep. Morgan observed a male wearing a black tank top and red shorts exiting the rear window of the cab into the bed of the truck. Once the suspect noticed Dep. Morgan, ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Gold & Ivory Tablecloth

Not long ago, in my morning reading, I happened across an obscure tale about a special tablecloth. And, as things like this are more and more wont to do, I was instantly blessed by this story. As I tracked down its origin, I learned it originally appeared in a 1954 edition of Reader’s Digest. Written by the Rev. Howard C. Schade, who at the time was the pastor of the First Reformed ... (click for more)