What’s A Tool Worth?
I get perverse pleasure from arguing with the GPS system that’s built right in to our new car. Maybe I need a support group. Or an intervention. I really don’t know.
Here’s the thing. When Esmeralda and I argue (yes, I’ve named her. Is that weird?), eventually, I get my way. Sure, she may spend a few minutes begging me, in her slightly-tinny sounding monotone, to make a u-turn. But sooner or later, she’ll give up without so much as a sigh, and display the GPS equivalent of a white flag: A little legend that reads “recalculating.”
For example, if I tell Esmeralda to show me the way home from work, and then I detour to stop by the ATM or buy fresh lettuce from my favorite greengrocer, she urges, take the next left turn. Or, when it’s safe to do so, make a u-turn.
I defy her, ignoring her pleas to alter my course.
And I like it.
That pleasure could threaten my marriage. I realized this truth the other day when I was trying to coax my overworked, rather-stressed husband into abandoning a project to accompany me to a family visit. He said, I can’t.
And I replied, butbutbut you must.
Finally he said, you’re pushing me. Please stop.
And in that moment, I saw how my coaxing could slip right into overbearing before I even noticed what was happening. Esmeralda, you see, well, she lets me get away with it.
I need to remember that Esmeralda doesn’t have a soul nor a heart. But my husband? He does. So it matters, how I respond when he, ever-so-gently, asks me to lay off.
On the other hand, she’s good for my marriage. Because you know that old saw about men not liking to ask directions? It’s true. And I, God please forgive me, am less patient than I could be when I’m a passenger in a car that’s moseying around looking for the intended destination.
But the same guy who would rather, say, volunteer to be infected with smallpox than stop to ask for directions? He does not hesitate to consult the GPS for directions, restaurant recommendations, the location of the nearest Chevron station, or gift suggestions.
Apparently, while asking a human being for directional assistance is some kind of masculinity-diminishing-vulnerable-please-don’t-ever-make-me-do-that event, leveraging technology is simply exercising Every Man’s Birthright.
And when I stop and think about it, I am dragged back, sometimes kicking and screaming, to the amazing, restorative, power of my God. Because somehow, He draws me to remember that the electronic wizardry built into our new car is just a tool. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It just is.
What matters is the use it is put to.
And God has this way, see, of drawing the good out of even the most ghastly of human circumstances. I don’t mean to be flippant. I’m talking about genuine tragedies and crises, the kinds of situations that take us to our knees and knock the wind from us.
Esmeralda can’t do that.
But God? Oh yeah. It’s one of His specialties.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Genesis 50:20 (ESV)