The Tracker

Order anything online lately? If you are really curious, and have too much time on your hands, you can track packages, step by step, city by city, truck by truck, as they work their way from warehouse to airport to doorman to you.

This has become an obsession of mine.

Say I order something from the L. L. Bean website. They’ll give me a link and a number, and I can then accompany my package on its journey. I can see where it is, when it was scanned, when it was sent to a regional shipping center. I can follow it on its happy way, imagining the adventures my wool socks must be having as they land at last in Maspeth, and are put on a truck, and driven in the early morning light through Queens.

Clearly: I’m overdue for a vacation.

But, to my point. We have become trackers, many of us. And not just with packages. On the subways you can follow a map that lights up as you move from Manhattan into Brooklyn. You can chart your progress, count the stops, see the lights move from stop to stop. On some airlines, when you fly, you can click on a map at your seat and see where the plane is, and follow the route. They’ll even tell you your altitude and flying time and sometimes even the temperature outside your window. We are all, suddenly, co-pilots without a license.

I wonder if it is this way with God.

Does He follow us the way I follow my UPS package from L. L. Bean? Does He ponder the journey we take, the routes we map out, the choices we make?
I think so. I hope so. I feel better believing so.

I trust and pray that He is monitoring my trip through life, the same way I might monitor my airline trip to Orlando. I have faith that He cares about how I’m traveling, and that He is watching my altitude (and, perhaps, my attitude.) Maybe He is keeping an eye out for unexpected changes in the wind. I have faith that God really is my co-pilot—or, at the very least, that He is following the map and helping me steer clear of storms.

We need all the help we can get because ultimately, though we may have a general sense of direction, we are all travelers journeying to places unknown. We are guided by unseen hands, through unexpected portals and weigh stations. In so many ways, our lives are not really ours. We make choices, of course, and pick paths and diversions and shortcuts. But ultimately, I think, life is about surrender—giving ourselves over to His will, and His own method of delivery and deliverance. There is a breathtaking freedom in that. As the 12-step programs put it: Let go, and let God.

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