It happened more than once. More than twice. It happened so often that they knew it had to be a God-thing.
In their early years together, back before the babies came and even before GPS, they liked to travel. They would pack their tiny car, make sure they had maps for every state they would be driving through, and set off with a bag of snacks and a cooler of soft drinks.
He would drive since he was more secure about driving in heavy traffic. And she would navigate as she was better at reading maps. Stopping only for ice and gas, they would get to their destination city without incident. But once there, they frequently found that their maps would not match the streets they found themselves on.
“Turn right at Union Street,” she would say, eyes glued to the map. “The hotel should be pretty close.”
“There is no Union Street. All these streets have numbers.”
“The one we just passed was Sixth Street. The next one will probably be Seventh Street.”
“What street are we one?”
“Oak Tree Blvd.”
“That’s impossible,” she responded, studying the map. “Oak Tree is way over there. It doesn’t even come close to Sixth Street.”
“Well, I’m telling you what I see on the signs. I’m not making it up.”
“Then the map is lying. Maybe there’s another way.”
After studying the map a bit longer, she said, “Yes, we can take 22nd Street to get to Maple Street, then get on Pine Tree Road, which will take us to Union Street.”
“Which way do I turn on 22nd?”
“Turn, um… right.”
“OK, here comes 22nd.”
After making the turn, he said, “Which way now?”
“You’ll need to turn left at Maple Street.”
“How far is it?”
“Only a few blocks.”
They both look at street signs until they spot it. “Yes! Turn left!”
After making that turn, he asked, “What was the next street? Pineapple?”
“No, Pine Tree. It should be just ahead.”
But after a dozen blocks go by, it’s obvious they missed it. Or it didn’t exist. Or the map lied again.
“Turn around, maybe we just missed it.”
But going back didn’t help. “There is no Pine Tree around here. Maybe you read the map wrong and it’s further up.”
She glared at him. “I know how to read a map. But you can keep driving if you want to.”
He kept driving. Another dozen blocks, it was obvious they weren’t going to find it.”
“OK, turn left up there. The map shows the streets are pretty much laid out in blocks. Since we took a right off Oak Tree, then a left, another left should take us back to Oak Tree.”
He turned at the next intersection.
“I said left! Not right!”
“Oh, I’ll just make a U-turn up there at the next light.”
As he began his U-turn, she yelled out, “Stop! Don’t make a U-turn! That’s Union Street!”
Managing to avoid getting hit by other cars, he got the car pointed in the right direction and began to drive slowly down Union Street.
Still studying the map, she tried to figure out how they got to Union Street. “How did we get here?” she wondered aloud. “Union Street doesn’t even come close to Maple!”
“I don’t know, but there’s our hotel.” He sighed with relief.
Perplexed, she said, “God must have done it. He must have picked up our car and plopped us right where we need to be. There’s no other way we could have gotten here according to the map.”
The first time that happened, they both laughed at the idea. But after many other trips, with similar experiences, they began to believe that God really did have mercy on them when they got themselves totally lost. Did He actually pick up their car and move it? Or did He move the roads? They didn’t know. And they didn’t care. They were just amazed each time He did it.
They may not have had GPS to help them back then, but they did have GPS – God’s Personal Service – which was more than enough.