Old Testament satnav

Image result for the man who took seven baths

When I was a child I used to love this book. It was about an Old Testament Syrian General called Naaman (you can read about him in 2 Kings 5). The story was told in rhyme and I asked for it as my bedtime story so often that I knew the whole story off by heart. My parents used to get so bored with it that they would make deliberate mistakes as they read it to try to see if I noticed. I did.

I was reminded of Naaman today, by my satnav. No, it didn’t get all ‘Old Testament’ on me: “At the roundabout take the third exit and then cross the Red Sea…” What happened was that I had installed a system update on it a while ago and ever since then it had developed a fault: when there was an instruction prior to a roundabout it used to say (for example) “Turn left, then cross the roundabout, third exit.” But after the update it just said “Turn left, then cross the roundabout.”

That was insufficient information – it meant that I didn’t know where to position my car approaching the roundabout or which way to indicate until I had got much closer to the roundabout, by which time it may have been too late. I sent an email to the support team at my satnav and explained the situation and received an email back telling me to reset the satnav.

I could not see how that would make a difference. It felt too easy. It felt like the old ‘turn it off and on again’ or ‘press ctrl+alt+delete’ approach to technical problems. I had already installed a new operating system and surely that would have involved a reset. And anyway, I didn’t want to risk losing all of the saved places that I had in the satnav.

So I wrote back to the tech support man and pointed all of this out. I wanted to know why a system reset would make a difference. I wanted a better answer.

And then I thought that perhaps the tech support man knew what he was talking about. I reckoned that maybe this was a problem they had come across before and that this was a solution that had worked. And anyway, all of my places were backed up in the cloud. And what could it hurt?

So I did a reset.

And then I reloaded my saved places and re-linked it to my phone to receive live traffic updates. And then I switched it on and set my next destination.

Lo and behold, thus spake the satnav: “Turn left, then enter the roundabout and take the third exit.” Ooh, new improved instructions and not only that but the voice was restored to the politely-spoken voice I remembered from before the update! Sarah the satnav was back to her best.

Ah. Time to eat some humble pie. I have written back to the tech support man and apologised for my attitude… I learnt a lesson in trusting others, letting go of pride and realising I don’t know everything. That was Naaman’s lesson too.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

satnav software problem

My satnav is an invaluable resource. Because it gives me live traffic updates it can navigate me around jams and queues. It has saved me hours of frustrated sitting in the car going nowhere.

But in the last few days it has irritated me. The first occasion was when it alerted me to a lengthy queue ahead and offered me a route that would be longer in distance but shorter in time. You may be wondering what’s wrong with that.


It offered me the new route just as I went past the exit it was recommending and the queue started just around the corner. Why didn’t it tell me earlier?

The second was this morning when as I was happily going along a route I use regularly I turned off onto an exit only to find myself joining a lengthy queue on the slip road and beyond. Why didn’t it warn me? Was it sulking because I was unhappy with it at the weekend?

As I reflect on both situations I think there’s a common problem. A software problem.



You see I think, on reflection, that in the first case the satnav probably did offer me an alternative route sooner than I realised but because I was wearing sunglasses I couldn’t see it clearly. In the second situation I did hear the satnav say something but assumed it was telling me to turn off rather than keep going. I wasn’t listening properly because I was confident in my own ability.

I make the same mistakes with God. Sometimes I ignore him or I am distracted by other things or I am overconfident in my own ability. And then I wonder why he didn’t say anything.

Hmm.  Note to self: pay more attention to God and my satnav.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

listening to the satnav

satnavDo you have a Satellite Navigation System? And if you do, do you talk back to yours, or is it just me? Do you argue with yours, or is it just me? Do you always obey yours?

My satnav has live traffic updates and about a week ago as I was travelling to a meeting it suggested that I should divert around a problem. I couldn’t see why that was necessary especially as I was in a moving flow of traffic, so I ignored it. Then I arrived at a section of road that was flooded and, while passable, required gentle navigation and tested the waterproofness of my car floor (it passed). Then it said that I should divert around another problem ahead. But I could see that stretch of road and it was empty. No flood. No cars. No problem. So I told my satnav not to be such a worrier and carried on without an issue.

On Sunday I was travelling to a church and the satnav was taking me on a lovely country road when it told me to turn right. I was singing along to a song so didn’t think about the instruction – I blindly followed it and indicated right. It was only as I turned right that I questioned what the satnav was doing as I drove down what looked like a farm track. It did come out onto another main road but I wondered whether the satnav would have been better keeping me on the main roads.

Yesterday I was heading to another meeting when the satnav started telling me to leave the dual carriageway I was on and follow a route along more minor roads. I was unconvinced, especially after the experience last week, but wondered whether or not to listen to the satnav anyway especially as it was telling me that if I followed the diversion I would be 15 minutes late for my meeting. So I ignored it and carried on along the dual carriageway.

Then the satnav offered another alternative route if I came off at the next junction. I admired its persistence and began to wonder whether I should listen to it. Just at that point my car radio was interrupted by a local traffic report that told me that the dual carriageway I was on was blocked ahead and that the queues went back for miles.

I decided to listen to my satnav.

I followed an interesting ‘cross country’ route which I imagine was probably the main route before the dual carriageway was constructed. The satnav told me where and when to turn and I was completely at its mercy. And wonderfully I arrived at my destination less than 10 minutes late (I didn’t speed, but the satnav had overestimated the delay).

At certain points in the journey the minor road I was on went parallel to the dual carriageway and I could see the massive tailback with stationary traffic (as opposed to stationery traffic which is made of paper). I tried not to feel smug, but enjoyed the experience of being in moving traffic.

Whose opinion do you trust? Whose voice do you listen to? What are the criteria by which you judge whether or not someone is trustworthy: previous experience; corroboration from other sources; the ‘authority’ of the speaker?

Do you apply those same criteria to questions of faith or how you read the Bible?

Be blessed, be a blessing