Driving in Scotland was far too exciting, and not always in a good way.
As you may know, relative to American (and almost all other) driving, those good folks drive on the wrong side of the road. To deal with this, the driver sits on the wrong side of the car. And it just feels wrong.
It felt wrong to poor Jonathan, whose heart stopped a couple of times when my dear wife, sitting on the front left, would lean back and fold her arms. Since that was the side the driver sat on for all of Jonathan's twelve years of life, and since the car was in motion, his first thought was that Valerie would get us all killed. Then he recalled that it was all backwards, I was driving (on the right), and he started breathing again.
I ran up or close to the curb (on the left) many times, because Scottish roads are just a hair broader than a single lane is in an average California street. The cars hurtling past (on my right!) seemed like they were all right up in my lap, so I'd list left, brush a curb, Valerie would gasp or cry out, I'd lurch back... and hilarity would ensue.
We growled at Clarence a great deal, but he cared about none of these things. The traffic-circles (or "roundabouts") were a constant challenge. It would not always be clear where Clarence wanted us to go. I think the single question my kids heard me ask most often came after each ambiguous turn: "Is Clarence happy?" I had to ask that, because my dear wife had to watch him since I did not dare take my eyes off the careening deadly nightmare of the traffic on the streets. Sometimes, before she could even be sure, we'd hear the dreaded, infuriating word:
That was the signal that I had taken a wrong turn. So we'd groan, or growl, or both; and wait for the inevitable "Drive 1.4 miles, then turn right."
Clarence was infuriating and frustrating, and the company will get a complaint from us about the speech module. But we were glad we had him. Though he'd vex us, he always got us where we were going... eventually. And Valerie (a brilliant strategist and planner) said several times that it was better than if she'd had to be paging through maps over and over, instead of enjoying (most of) the scenery (when she wasn't fearing for her life from the stone wall inches to her left).
God is like, and unlike that, I had occasion to reflect.
(He didn't help me deal with all the frogs that were hopping across the road, though. I had to work that part out myself.)
God is unlike Clarence in that He invariably knows where He is going, He invariably gets there, and He tells us everything we need to know, with crystal clarity (2 Timothy 3:15-17; I write as one who really-really believes in the really-really sufficiency of Scripture; leaky-canoneers, sadly, will be unable to say "amen" to this truth.)
Further, we tell Clarence where we want to go, and he has no choice but to show us how to get there, best as his programming enables. Clarence never says, "Bad idea, please reconsider." Nor does Clarence simply send us to another location because he knows it is better than our own idea.
God, by contrast, is the grand planner. He takes us where He wants us to go. Even our necessary and proper plans and decisions are taken up into His grand plan (Proverbs 16:1, 9). It cannot be otherwise (Proverbs 19:21; 20:24).
God never has to say "recalculating," because God has no Plan B. It is all Plan A (Psalm 115:3; Eph. 1:11). But God's Plan A is indeed very complex, involving many turns and traffic-circles. When Israel spent forty years in that vast, arid traffic-circle, it was still part of the grand plan (Deuteronomy 8:1-5).
We were glad to have Clarence helping us make our way through Scotland and England.
But we're glad there's no celestial Clarence steering the universe in the same way.