What does that remind you of? Yes, I guess that like me, many of you use a SATNAV. It can sometimes be very helpful, but at other times extremely infuriating, especially when it informs me that it is recalculating, recalculating, or when it tells me to make a U-turn, especially on those occasions when I know perfectly well that neither is necessary. That’s when I shout at mine. But then it got me thinking about the difference between recalculating and making a U-turn – if there is one? Maybe? A U-turn seems to be needed when continuing the way I am going will simply not take me to where I wish to go, whereas by recalculating I can follow an alternative route to my planned destination.
In recent days I have got increasingly annoyed, not by my SATNAV, as my car has rarely been out of the garage, but by the repeated criticism of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Again, and again their political opponents and the media have declared that ministers have made a U-turn. But have they?
Undoubtedly, sometimes they have; that is, they have discovered that they cannot get to where they want to be in terms of controlling the virus by continuing to do what they originally started doing in the way they were doing it. To admit that is actually positive and courageous and allows a new start and progress to proceed in the right direction, but I suspect that more often than not what they have done is to recalculate. Over time, the statistics have become clearer and the situation more understandable. This means that as we have gradually learnt more and more about the Coronavirus the medics have had to
change their advice and the government to adapt their strategies – often at quite short notice. This has therefore sometimes looked very like repeated U-turns whereas it has really been a necessary and appropriate response to following the science. It seems to me that many people simply do not understand this and so complain that the government does not give sufficient notice of their adjusted actions and advice. Let’s remember that they are not prophets and we should be praying for them.
Then, I thought of something else. U-turns and recalculations are also part of life in general, not just of a journey by SATNAV or when dealing with a recalcritrant virus. In terms of our Christian life, we could say that it starts with one big U-turn as we turn from our own way of doing things and messing up and return to God. After that, there may be times when we do go down the wrong path and need to reverse onto the right way, but probably most of the time we simply need to do something slightly differently. We don’t need to start over every time we make a mistake, though we may need to say we’re sorry to someone and to God. But, basically, we’re on the right path; we just need to learn from experience and listen to what the Lord is teaching us day by day and make a few adjustments in accordance with that. Just think of it as having a spiritual SATNAV telling you when to recalculate, recalculate!