Detours. Deviations. Alternate routes.

What comes to mind when you read these words? Possibly this pops into your mind,  Not again! This is not what I planned!

Why do detours happen?

Let's say your family takes a road trip to visit relatives halfway across the country. Thirty minutes from your destination a sigh of relief escapes. You are exhausted, but know the end is in sight. By now your children sound like a broken record, “When are we going to get there?” In the distance, you observe a blinking yellow light. Approaching the intersection, you see a large sign with an arrow pointing away from the final destination. As the sign comes into focus it reads — Road Closed. Detour 20 miles.

Your youngest child cries out, "I need to go to the bathroom!" Your nerves are about shot. Frustration rises up. For a split second, you consider going around the sign. From your perspective, the road appears to be in good condition. But taking a deep breath, you realize there is only one choice - to follow the detour sign.

After the extra twenty-minute drive, you finally reach your relatives home. They shared with you the reason for the road closure. The latest thunderstorm washed out the road making it extremely dangerous and hazardous for travelers. A silent praise releases and you silently thank God for guiding your decision to obey the signs.

Such is life. Sometimes it seems we have it all together. Our life is mapped out, and plans for the future secured. When out of know where something unexpected happens. Our current path becomes obscure, and our destination is now out of sight. Faced with a choice... either accept the detour with grace or react with bitterness and anger.

Turning to God's Word, we find in Acts 16:6-10 Paul and Silas hit a roadblock. The Holy Spirit would not permit them to preach the message of Jesus in Asia. But, that was their plan. They spent time days traveling and planning. Why wouldn't the Spirit allow them to enter the region? I love Paul and Silas’ response and attitude. They didn’t complain or rebel. They didn’t become upset or act out in a selfish way. They listened, obeyed, and followed. They desired to go wherever Jesus led them. As a result, when their path to Asia was diverted, and they followed God's road signs to Macedonia. They understood their purpose was not for themselves, but Kingdom purposes. Wow, what a perfect example for us to follow.

Are you experiencing a detour in your life? Are you confused about why God is allowing this change? Learn to praise Him in the midst of the moment. Yes, praise Him! He knows best, and He has a mighty plan. Thank Him for teaching you to trust Him in a situation that doesn’t make sense to you. Ask God to prepare you for those times when you seem to freeze in your tracks. Go a step further and pray for others you know who may be experiencing tough times. Pray for them to trust God and realize He is in control.

Detours — you have to take them, even when they are inconvenient!


From My Heart to Yours,

Carla McDougal