A friend of ours just moved to Dillingham, Alaska. After finding this town of 2,300 on the map, we were curious as to its distance. When I asked Google maps to give me directions (and that distance), here’s what I received: “Sorry, we could not calculate driving directions from “Your location” to ‘Dillingham, Alaska 99576.'” So in this case, you can’t there from here. Happily, we can get most places by car. To the best of my knowledge, we can’t drive anywhere that leaves us trapped.
Sunday, our fill-in preacher, speaking on the tenth commandment, instructed us that coveting is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. There are things we should covet. He went on to enumerate some of those covet-worthy items. One of them, he suggested, was faith.
You need to desire the faith that right where you are today is right where God wants to bless you and use you.
That’s what his message notes said, but when he spoke on Sunday morning, the words were a bit different:
Do you have faith that where you are right now is right where God wants you to be and that he intends to bless you there?
Do you see the difference? The first statement, the one that is more defensible in my opinion, says that God can and will (and desires to) bless us wherever we might want to be.
The second statement says that wherever we are is where God wants us to be and that he’ll bless us there. I have to differ.
- When Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, they were not where God wanted them to be. He still blessed them from that place, but he didn’t want them to be there.
- When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then committed murder to cover his sin, he was not where God wanted him to be. God still blessed David from that (wrong) place.
- When I drove my old van on the same oil for far too many miles and blew out the engine, I wasn’t where either God or I wanted to be. However, he could and did still bless me from that bad situation.
If I use GPS to reach some more reasonable location in Alaska–beautiful Ketchikan for example–I might well make a wrong turn. When I head east when I should have headed west, that’s not where the GPS wanted me to go. I wasn’t supposed to be there, but I’m not abandoned. Typically, the GPS will pause and say, “Recalculating” before providing newly updated directions.
My sin will take me down many wrong roads and into many bad neighborhoods. That’s not what God wants. But just like the GPS, each time I take a wrong turn, God recalculates and blesses me from that new location.
I understand what our fill-in preacher intended by his words, but we should remember that God doesn’t want us to be heading down that wrong road. Regardless of where we’ve gotten ourselves, though, he won’t leave us stranded in the spiritual equivalent of Dillingham, Alaska.