A few weeks ago I traveled to Ohio for the Just Jewelry national conference from my home here is SW Pennsylvania. I have driven that route several times over the past 3 years, but I always take my trusty GPS with me because I never want to get lost when I am over 5 hours away from home.
My trip was going great until I hit the Cambridge, OH area on I-70 West – a line of cars as far as I could see were at a standstill. Grrr! From where I was sitting I had no idea why the traffic wasn’t moving. Was it an accident? Construction? I had no clue.
Since I am such a geek, I pulled out my smartphone and used my Scanner app to listen in on the police/emergency channels . . . no chatter about the traffic so I figured no accident. But what WAS going on? I really didn’t want my 5+ hour ride to be any longer! Plus, I didn’t want to miss the evenings festivities at our conference . . . *sigh*.
We sat there. We crept a few yards and occasionally hit 15 mp and then STOP. I still couldn’t see what the hold up was. I checked the scanner again and no news. I called my husband. Sent some text messages. Posted a picture of the line of traffic on Facebook. Whined about the delay on Facebook. We crept a few more yards. Stop. Creep. Stop. Creep. . .
After about 2 miles of the stop/creep routine and 45 minutes later, I was really getting impatient. I phoned my team leader to let her know I probably wouldn’t arrive until close to 10pm instead of 9pm so that she wouldn’t worry about me. I promised myself that as soon as I saw an exit that was heading west or south that I was going to take it and let the GPS recalculate.
My opportunity came about 15 minutes later! An exit was up ahead and as far as I could see the traffic was still not moving. The exit was for I-77 South and I took it! Yippee! I was flying down the road eating up the miles! In the meantime the GPS lady kept repeating “turn around as soon as possible” or “take the next exit, turn left, turn left and take the highway” back the way I had just come from. What was she thinking? I didn’t want to go back to sit in that line of traffic – I had somewhere to be!
I pushed some buttons on the GPS and calculated an alternate route. It added almost another 100 miles and 50 more minutes to my ride. I justified that MY new route was better because by the time I turned around and then sat in traffic it could take much longer than 50 minutes . . . RIGHT?
Well, it got dark, the roads went from interstates to two-lane curvy, up-and-down, roads with little eye balls reflecting along the side of the road. Please Lord, don’t let a deer or other critter run out in front of me!
Did I mention that I was getting low on gas?? Yep, I had to find a station in a little town off the beaten path at 11pm. I also had to go the restroom but there were some shady looking characters lurking about so I didn’t go and prayed my bladder wouldn’t burst by the time I got to the hotel.
I finally arrived at my destination around midnight. I was tired, thirsty, stiff and really needed that bathroom break!
Now fast forward to the trip home (by the way, my weekend was great!) . . .
I decided that I would listen to my GPS on the ride home. I had plenty of daylight left and wasn’t in a real big hurry, so I was going to rely on it instead of myself.
As I got closer to Cambridge on I-70 I got stuck in traffic headed east. I knew then that the traffic from the other evening was construction traffic. The line wasn’t near as bad as it was when I was heading west, so I was patient. As traffic approached the area of construction I was shocked to see that even though the line was long, the construction area was only a few hundred yards in length and on the other side traffic was moving freely. I also noticed that just around the bend was . . . the exit I took to avoid the traffic a few nights ago!! Ugh!
I realized that if I would have been patient (and could have seen around the bend) on my way going, I would have saved myself almost an hour of time and 100 miles! I was so angry at myself!
You know, God’s Word tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Just as my GPS knew my destination and the quickest, easiest way to get there, God knows the plans He has for your life. God knows where the traffic jams are, when there is construction ahead, and what paths are the best for you to travel. When you get off track, God will recalculate. Why? Because He knows what is best for us. Even when we make wrong choices and get off of the path God has intended for us, He will still lead us where we are to go if we just ask Him. God knows what’s ahead and can see around any bend in your life and will guide you if you let Him.