Think On This
Can A Compass Be Wrong? Can A Compass Be Wrong? Can A Compass Be Wrong? Can A Compass Be Wrong?
  • As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. - John 15:13

Being one degree off at the beginning of your walk will lead you to being miles away from your destination if your compass isn't calibrated correctly.

I looked at my watch to see what time I had arrived at my hunting position I had chosen for the day. I loved the hunting watch my wife Shelia had given me for my birthday. It meant so much to me because she listened to me as I had described exactly what I wanted. I know how she wanted to surprise me with what I really wanted. What makes it so special more than anything is I know how difficult it must have been for her to find it—looking for anything for hunting would be a challenge for her—as inexperienced as I am, it would have been for me also. It wasn't an expensive watch I wanted but I had given her pretty specific details of the features I wanted in it. I wanted it to have a large digital display, an indigo light feature, and most of all, it must have a compass. I preferred a digital compass built into the display. Just a year ago I had taken my first hunting trip where it appeared all the seasoned hunters had a compass watch. I figured if they had one it had to be important part of the necessary gear. These guys looked the part and talked the talk.

Several days before my birthday Shelia kept asking me what would I like for my birthday: "Are you sure you want a watch?" "Not just a watch, a compass watch," I said. We got into a very in depth discussion about my need for a compass watch. As always, she was more in depth than I was. Being the career salesman I am, I used every sales bone in my body to convince her I needed it for my once a year hunting trip to my favorite hunting spot in NW Minnesota. "You go out by yourself and there is a chance you could get lost?", she asked. Wanting to say yes but thinking I might scare her into getting me one I said: "No Honey, I can't get lost if I don't have it. It will just help me get to and from where I am going faster." I didn't want her to worry about me. If I said yes I could actually get lost she probably wouldn't want me to go at all, or, on second thought, maybe she would. No, she loves me too much. I came up with another idea, which was actually true, but I only realized it as the words started coming out of my mouth, "I like to know what direction the deer are traveling when I spot them, because they seem to follow the same habits of travel." It sounded good and I thought I recalled hearing the experienced guys discussing that. Good sales people can always come back with a fast testimonial.

I continued to think back about my birthday as I looked at the watch she had so tenaciously looked for to surprise me. Prior to the trip, the first since I was given the watch, and the first of the season, I had not taken time to do anything with the watch other than set it. I was now settled in at my hunting position. Wanting to be prepared to chart the deer and doe paths, I raised my watch and pressed the compass button to determine my heading. The heading display indicated 69 degrees NE. "NE? It can't be! The rising sun is coming up behind me and unless something has really changed the sun always comes up in the East," I thought. Again, holding the same position, I tapped the compass button and again it registered 69 degrees NE. I turned around facing the sunrise, raised my watch and pressed the compass display button once more. Again it indicated I was headed 69 degrees NE. "Oh my," I thought, "I have a defective watch." I am just thankful I was familiar with the walk to my hunting position this morning and didn't depend on my compass to find my direction. I was not looking forward to telling Shelia it didn't work when I returned home. She may not think to ask if I liked using it when I first arrive but I was looking forward to telling her how much I enjoyed it and how useful it was, as I knew it would bring her much joy.

After a great weekend being out in the quiet and openness of nature, I returned home wearing my watch. Shelia asked a lot of things about my trip but didn't mention the watch. After discovering the compass didn't work while on my trip, I recalled looking at the instructions that came with the watch when I had opened it. The first thing I was going to do when I got back from the trip was to find and read them and the warranty information. Maybe there would be some information that may explain why the compass wasn't working correctly.

I have to admit, men don't ask for directions and they don't read them either. I didn't come up with that quote but it seems I have heard it from a female some time or another. I had only scanned the directions before I left for the trip. How complicated can it be? Right? After Shelia and I talked about the trip, what had gone on in her life over the past three days and how the children were doing, I made a beeline to the bedroom closet. I recalled placing the watchcase and instructions there before I left for the trip. It took me a few seconds to find the directions in English. The print was written for a child's eyes and the brain of very small and in three languages on only one page!

"Compass! Compass! There it is: 'Compass Calibration.' What calibration? They have to be kidding me," I thought. It read, in bold print, and I regret to report: "IMPORTANT: Watch must be calibrated before using to find directions!" As I read on I realized there were specific steps I should have taken before attempting to use the compass feature. The instructions were to press and hold the "Heading" tab until "Cal" appears, rotate the watch two times while holding it level, then press the "Heading" tab once again. "Your watch is now calibrated and ready for use. It may have to be calibrated occasionally depending on location," it read. Having to calibrate it seemed so ridiculous, and it is dependent upon my location? Duh! It's a compass! If I need it to get out of the woods I don't want to be thinking it may need calibrating. I won't know where I am; that's why I need a compass! Why should this watch need recalibrating often? I began to ponder the question and started calming myself down after realizing it was me who made the mistake. I had not read nor followed the instructions. I had to calm myself and think how or if I should tell Shelia about my experience.

This self-confession also reminded me that in my personal and spiritual life I have had to reset my personal compass often for my correct heading and direction. I recalled there had been specific times when I came to the realization I was wandering in the wrong direction in my spiritual walk with Christ and in my personal relationship with others. Somewhere and at some time I had strayed from the right path, drifting from what I knew had been taught by the example of my Christian parents and many others who were positive influences in my life. Over the course of our lives God provides us with instructions through others, His Word, and through His Holy Spirit speaking to us but we often overlook His directions and we have to be made aware by Him we are not following the correct path. We must repent (turn around) and come back to Him to reset our heading.

It would have been foolish had I ventured out on a trail during my hunting trip knowing my compass heading was wrong and out of calibration, taking me in the wrong direction. Likewise, how foolish are we to continue on a path in the wrong direction that is contrary to His word, one that would lead us to destruction and separation from Him and others? As indicated by the directions written by the manufacturer of my watch, "May require recalibration often, depending on location," wherever you are in your life, it may be a time of recalibration of your relationship with Christ and/or others. If you find yourself today in a place you regret or one you know you should not be in, it may be time for you to reset your compass by coming back to Him, asking His forgiveness, and re-establishing your relationship with Him and those from whom you have separated for some reason in the past.

There was one last sentence in the instructions, one that had the greatest impact on me as I reflected on where I am on my daily path with Him, "When the watch is suspected to have come in contact with interfering forces a new calibration should be performed." Wow! How prophetic is that? After I read this, I bowed my head and said a prayer, "Dear Heavenly Father, it is my desire to follow you in my daily walk. If I stray off the path you desire for me, protect me and keep me from interfering forces that surround me. Correct my way that I may not find myself far from you and all alone. I need you to direct my way so I may walk the right path for others to follow who may come after me. Amen."

Does your compass need resetting today? Being one degree off at the beginning of your walk will lead you to being miles away from your destination if your compass isn't calibrated correctly.

Author: Bill Lowery
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