Editorial: Recalculating

You’ve heard that sterile monotone coming from your GPS. You’ve dared to defy its directions and gone your own way. Perhaps you’ve deviated because you know the area better and know a shorter, better way. Perhaps you’ve gone another way by error, ignoring the suggestion or missing the turn. Regardless, the message is the same: “recalculating.” Relentlessly, almost maddeningly, it is determined to get you back on the right road. The destination is locked into its small computer; the path you are on is not going to get you there.

There is a certain tenacity about the GPS and its commands that is either frustrating or reassuring, depending on your “lostness.” But until you either switch it off or comply with its instructions, it continues with its single message: “recalculating.”

In a similar manner, yet with far greater implications and consequences, the indwelling Spirit of God, longing to have more of each of us for Christ, prods away at us, “recalculating” (James 4:5). A gracious and compassionate Father longs to take us up and to restore us. A previous editorial by John Dennison (September, 2009) reminded us that failure is never final with God. He is the God of restoration, the God of the “second chance” (John 21:15-19). Whether you have wasted years in self-will and chastening like Jacob (Gen 35:1), a loss of a moment’s self-discipline like David (1 Sam 25), or a bitter experience by the world’s fire like Peter (John 18), divine persons are still at work, “recalculating.”

The awareness of the longsuffering and mercy of God is not meant to breed indifference and carelessness in our walk. It is intended to give hope in every set of circumstances. Centuries ago, marked by a loss of zeal and ardor that had once marked them, a band of Jews stood in shame, aware that they had lost ground spiritually. The great promise of revival had dimmed; old habits had resurfaced. Some of the sins which had marked their fathers were making comeback appearances among them. Ezra stood among them burdened to bring about recovery. His presence prompted Shechaniah to say, “We have trespassed … yet now there is hope in Israel” (Ezra 10:2).

Perhaps you have failed the Lord – who among us has not? Perhaps you have wasted days, months, even years on a path of self-will and rebellion. Perhaps it has just been indifference and a sense of futility in your Christian life. He is always at work “recalculating.”

His great purpose is not merely to be able to “use” us; He really has need of nothing. His ultimate desire is to have us enjoy Him (John 13:8) and know fellowship with Him; to become a partaker of His holiness (Heb 12:10).

It may well be that some of the adverse circumstances in your life right now or, in contrast, some of the blessings you are being showered with, are the work of the divine navigator, “recalculating.”