Have you ever desired to hear God but found yourself unable to do so? This is not an uncommon problem for the average Christian. Not hearing God’s voice, however, was never intended by God. Learning to discern and hear His voice is invaluable. I came to realize this during a vacation in Arizona in September 2019.

Wavering on where to go or what to do, my wife Peggy got this brilliant notion that it would be fun to tune into spontaneous flow and let God guide our journey.  By “flow,” I mean Peggy wanted God to decide and navigate for us, and so she turned off the GPS. Initially skeptical, I reluctantly agreed but struggled with doubt. Peggy persisted, challenging my faith. Then, a seemingly coincidental encounter—a passing car bearing the license plate “SKEPTIC”—forced me to reconsider my disbelief. This encounter prompted reflection on trusting God’s guidance, leading to a shift in my mindset. Yet, despite lingering doubts, I gradually began to embrace Peggy’s desire to allow God to guide us, culminating in a moment where we trusted an exit number received through prayer. This experience led to a newfound appreciation for listening to God and stretching my faith.

Now, several months later, I find myself reflecting on that seemingly coincidental incident once again.

Just like TV and radio transmissions are continuously broadcast 24/7, we can only hear them if we turn on the device. The same applies to hearing God’s voice. We can only hear God’s voice if we intentionally tune into Him. God is always transmitting. How is your reception?

Although traffic was heavy, I left with plenty of time to arrive at International House of Prayer Eastern Gate by 6 o’clock for the Thursday evening service, and so I wasn’t particularly anxious; YET!  I was looking forward to playing in worship and was earnestly seeking Him and connecting with Him on my drive there.


Traveling a route I had never traveled before, I depended on my GPS device to get me to my destination. Typically, the GPS is very reliable unless it loses its signal or malfunctions, which is very infrequent.

The road was heavily traveled with lots of stops and starts due to lights and a large number of cars and trucks on the road. It was “rush hour. Often, cars would cut in front of me to get into my lane. “Okay, Bill, take a deep breath and count to 3,” I heard. I eased back on the accelerator and put a few car lengths in front of me, although what I really wanted to do was ride this guy’s tail and lay on the horn. I didn’t, however, remembering to BE FILLED with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) rather than be filled with the flesh.

The female voice on my GPS calmly alerted me to a turn coming up. Unlike my demeanor right now, there was no alarm in her voice as she matter-of-factly said, “Take next right turn in 500 feet.” I’ve gotten used to her British accent, and I must admit I rather enjoy it. She’s become a reliable companion during car rides. Though I haven’t given her a name, I’ll just refer to her as SHE. And so, I obediently listened and followed her instructions.

But SHE’s instruction had to be wrong. It was too late; I had already committed to making the turn. Why did SHE put me on a jug handle to go in the opposite direction from which I was traveling?  My frustration showed as I told her so in so many words. Have you ever had your GPS take you in circles as if it were confused? I certainly have, and so I thought this was one of those times. Disregarding her guidance, I instinctively returned to our original route. Surprisingly, SHE did not attempt to correct me and simply allowed me to continue on. I discounted the mistake as a malfunction.

Sometime later, SHE instructed me to get in the leftmost lane. Following her guidance, I found myself in the left two lanes designated for the Holland Tunnel to New York City. “What!? I’m not headed to New York City,” I exclaimed in disbelief. “What’s going on with SHE?”  Alarmed, I quickly activated my right blinker and maneuvered my car into the middle lane. Still signaling, I attempted to move over into the rightmost lane to get on to the Pulaski Skyway to New Jersey. As I inched forward with the traffic, I abruptly came to a halt when all vehicles ahead stopped. When we started moving again, a driver beside me refused to allow me to merge, adding to my frustration. “C’mon!,” my frustration showing again. Typical New Jersey driver! Ugh.

“Alright, enough of the horns already!” No one was allowing me to merge into their lane, so I momentarily held up traffic in the middle lane until someone was kind enough to let me get in front of them. Or perhaps it was my own assertiveness that prompted me to cut slightly in front of another car until they had no choice but to yield.

By this point, I no longer sensed God’s presence. Although my initial instinct was to lean on the horn in frustration, I refrained. In New Jersey, if you annoy the driver in front of you, they will personally see to it that it takes you twice as long to get to where you are going. Can any of you New Jerseyans relate?

The Pulaski Skyway is a 4-lane highway that runs for 3 ½ miles over two rivers and the New Jersey Meadowlands where rumor has it, Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried underneath. It soars 135-feet into the air bypassing railroads, interstates, factories, oil refineries, and canals. Trucks, pedestrians, and bicycles are prohibited on the skyway because the four-lane highway, two in each direction, barely fits onto the structure, leaving no room for a shoulder or sidewalk. At one time, there were over 400 crashes a year on the highway, which is why commercial vehicles and pedestrians are prohibited today..

Tuning into God’s Frequency: Lessons from a GPS Mishap

Talk about not hearing from God. Ever found yourself in that place where you’re not just worried about being late, but you start imagining worst-case scenarios, like not getting there at all? Yep, my frustration had gotten the better of me. We’ve all been there, done that. It’s a reminder to step back, take a breath, and realign ourselves with a more positive mindset, especially when it comes to our spiritual journey.

More than an hour into my journey, SHE suddenly alerted me: “Route Memory Full.” And just like that, my GPS stopped working. The maximum available memory had been exceeded. Why is this happening to me? If SHE were a real person I might have wondered, was SHE angry at me for something? Or was she just having a bad day and malfunctioned? We humans sometimes malfunction too. I was having one of those malfunctions right now and could not hear God as He had designed me to hear Him.

What do I do now?” I thought. I was completely lost without my GPS. But then I was quietly reminded in my spirit of my vacation in Arizona when my wife Peggy and I heard God’s voice for guidance. So, why not now? I thought. I needed to rely NOT on my GPS device but God’s Positioning Satellite instead.

It wasn’t so easy, though, especially under duress and the incessant chatter in my head. Instead of hearing God’s voice, I kept hearing in my head – “You are going to be late; really late!”

“Are you delusional?” I thought. “You can’t hear God for directions.” “How foolish of you to think that God would supernaturally guide your way.” How foolish to think that God would supernaturally guide my way.” Wouldn’t it be best to stop at a gas station and ask for directions.?

Ooops, I just passed one a half mile back.

Then I thought I had heard in my spirit, “Take the next right.” But then again I was too late to respond and kept going.

As I approached the next right-hand turn, I questioned whether it was truly God guiding me or just my imagination. Seeing signs indicating that the upcoming turn was a dead-end only added to my doubt. Despite this, I continued onward until I ultimately decided to commit to the next right-hand turn. It felt like the most logical choice and, I hoped, pointed me in the right direction.

Hearing God was difficult. It felt too much like rowing an 8-man 60-foot long sculling boat against the tide and wind all by myself. Where was my coxswain to encourage and guide me? If you don’t know what a Coxswain is, it is the person in charge of the boat, particularly its navigation and steering. During a race, a coxswain is responsible for steering and calling the moves. “LET IT RUN; LET IT GLIDE.”

My journey felt far from smooth sailing, and the finish line seemed nowhere in sight. Was God even listening to my cry for HELP? Had my coxswain fallen overboard? NO, it was clear that the problem wasn’t with God, but with me.

It would have been so much easier if my scull, metaphorically speaking, was equipped with sails to catch the wind, analogous to catching the Holy Spirit’s wind. Coming into alignment with the Holy Spirit then would be just like sailing, not by my own strength, but effortlessly with His breath. Things could then happen in our life that would otherwise not be possible, such as asking for small, even unorthodox things like this, not just the big oines.  “Give ear and come to me” (Isaiah 55:3) – in everything!

The circumstances were indeed different from when Peggy and I were on vacation in Arizona, where there was no urgency to be anywhere. Yet I can’t say that hearing God’s voice was not without some resistance, even then. It was just different. Given our unfinished spiritual condition, we often resist God and withdraw from what He wants to show us. So, this is where I had mentally retreated in my moment of panic.

Listening, like most disciplines is a skill we develop that comes from a deeper relationship with God that is developed by actually engaging with Him, by finding intimacy with Him.

By the way, my GPS device did eventually come back online, although it only worked sporadically. As a result, there were a couple of wrong turns along the way. Yet, despite the challenges, God still managed to gety me to IHOP with seven minutes to spare. I felt a sense of relief knowing that God came through despite my victim mentality to succumb to negativity.

In retrospect, as I look back. I am convinced that God was always in control even though I wasn’t. When it seemed like I was facing obstacles at every turn (forgive the pun), I needed to be reminded of how God saw my situation. I needed a fresh perspective, a different thought process, a language nothing the world had ever heard before. Here’s what Graham Cooke articulated in his video “The Language of Heaven.”  “No problem can come to us without a provision and a promise attached to it.  A problem is meant to move us into God’s provision. What if a problem is so big? Then the promise is bigger than the problem. Imagine! It’s a new way of thinking. Every problem comes with a promise and a provision. Convert your negatives into something brilliant because Christ doesn’t want us to be victims of negative situations. We need a new mindset. We need a new language that describes who God is for me.”

It’s a powerful journey, learning to step into God’s fullness amidst life’s challenges. With each problem I encounter, big or small, I’m discovering how to embrace my inheritance in Christ. Every situation I face in life, whether small or large, is an opportunity for growth, an invitation to become more like Jesus.

Have you set your sails, or are you still rowing under your own power? Is God your coxswain?

If you haven’t already read:  “Adventures Flowing in God,” Parts 1, 2, and 3. Click on links below.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Copyright 2024 by Bill Hutzel


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