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.


'It Really God Bad In A Hurry' Is Sunday's Topic At Middle Valley

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, 'It Really God Bad In A Hurry '  in the  10:30 a.m.  service this  Sunday .  This is part of a sermon series titled 'We Have To Find A Way To Fix This Problem.'  This new sermon series will focus on the need for redemption ... (click for more)

Bruce Tidwell Called As Bishop Of The Brainerd Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints

Bruce Tidwell was called as the Bishop of the Brainerd congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road in Ooltewah. Mr. Tidwell will serve as the ecclesiastical leader of the Brainerd congregation for a period of about five years without pay. He has served in many different positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ... (click for more)

Lawsuit Charges That Georgia Law Firm Stole One Of The Woodmore Elementary Cases From Chattanooga Attorneys

A Circuit Court lawsuit charges that one of the Woodmore Elementary bus wreck cases was stolen from a Chattanooga law firm by Georgia attorneys just shortly after the Nov. 21 tragic crash that killed six students and injured others. It is illegal in Tennessee for attorneys to contact victims of a tragedy for 30 days after the incident. The lawsuit brought by Carl Lewis, father ... (click for more)

Stubbs Arrested In Carjacking At Lakesite McDonald's; SWAT Team Takes Him Into Custody After Struggle At Dayton Pike Apartment

The Sheriff's Office has arrested Jonathan Casey Stubbs in connection with a Feb. 13 carjacking at the parking lot of the McDonald's in Lakesite. Stubbs, 28, who gave his address as Ringgold, is charged with carjacking, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, resisting arrest, unlawfully carrying a weapon and three counts of violating probation on prior aggravated burglary ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Haggling Must Stop

Far be it for me to suggest the Hamilton County Commission and the School Board need to spend more time at recess but it was obvious this week the two groups need to work at being better friends. We have nine county commissioners and just as many corresponding school board members to work together for the betterment of one entity – Hamilton County. Everybody who thinks that is happening ... (click for more)