I’m realizing this in my own life, as well as other people’s—we sometimes tend to use God as a car navigation system.
In some ways, this makes sense. He’s supposed to be our guide. He’s supposed to show us the way. We’re supposed to listen to when He says “turn here” or “stop”.
But the analogy isn’t always true to form. This analogy assumes that we’re the one in the driver’s seat, only listening intently for a direction so that we can keep driving smoothly.
We don’t want to hit any roadblocks, and God is the ultimate guide, so what’s wrong with this analogy?
I’m glad you asked.
The problem with this analogy is that when we’re in a relationship with God, we’re not the ones in the driver’s seat anymore. God is.
Yes, God also knows the map well like a GPS, because He built the landscape. He shows us the way by driving it. He shows us places we might not have taken ourselves, but we come out better for it. Sometimes He lets us put our hand on the wheel, and He tells us the direction so that we can work together. “Wait ’til you see the place I have to show you,” he says with a smile.
Sometimes, though, we get a little power hungry. We look around us at other cars on the superhighway we’re on, seeing that other people are in the driver’s seat of their own vehicle, and we’re just being driven around.
They’re getting to places on their own, and yet, we need help? We decide that we want autonomy for ourselves. We’re not a chump. We can drive our own car.
And so we get the idea to take hold of the steering wheel. We ask God to pull over, which He does, out of His love for us. Then we grab the wheel, and try to move God out of the way. But here’s the thing—He’s put his foot on the brake so we can’t hurt ourselves. And He’s not budging. This isn’t our car, it’s His.
Sometimes we feel like we’re not going anywhere because we’ve turned on the car and we’re turning the wheel, but God has stopped the car. He’s trying to protect us, but sometimes we don’t see that. Sometimes we take it a step further and get our own car and drive, seeking autonomy. We think, “Yes! I can make it on my own.” Then soon enough, we realize we don’t really know where we’re going, get lost, or we get hurt.
Eventually, we’ll come to the realization that it’s better to not drive at all and walk than to go at high speeds without direction.
It’s only when we get out of our own car that God can finally pick us up. We will long for His car, and His driving. With Him we were safe and protected. With Him there was always direction.
He will drive by and open the door, saying with just as much excitement as when you left, “Wait ’til you see the place I have to show you.”
And if you’ve been in God’s car before, you’ll jump right back in.
If we think of God as the GPS, we don’t really need to have a relationship with God anymore. He becomes our genie in a box or our magic-8 ball, so that we can still do the driving and say we did it ourselves.
But we can’t do it ourselves. If God is the driver, the relationship with Him is necessary. Communication is necessary. And God, most importantly of all, is necessary.