Detours. They are annoying in any place…but they are especially annoying when it affects EVERY trip you make to town. Our town is in the process of a major change on a major road. This leads to a detour on the road that we take to town often. It means there are 5 more minutes added to our trip. We are told it will take several weeks, even months!? With this constant road detour, my thoughts have turned to some of life’s detours. They are really not so different in principle. Here are a few thoughts I had–
1. Attitude is key. When the person in front of me decides to go under the speed limit (which happens more often than not) on the back country road detour, it increases from a 5 minute detour to a 7 minute detour. So what is 2 minutes, you say? Well, when you put it like that…I guess it isn’t a big deal. But when I am running late…or have a million things to do…well, it just adds up to frustration…that is…if I allow it to. I have realized that I have a choice to make about my attitude. And there is one very simple thing I can do to help my attitude: Give myself extra time. And so it is the same with life, isn’t it? When I am faced with a detour in life…something is not going quite how I planned and God has me on an unfamiliar road…my attitude will make all the difference. And that attitude can be helped by a very simple act: submitting to God’s will for my life. Instead of ranting and raving and becoming depressed and angry, I need to submit with joy. Oh, so simple, but so incredibly hard to do.
2. Think outside the box. There is another option to get to town. A second main road that takes us there. But on the way back home, there is a light where I need to turn left to get home. A couple of years ago they made some changes to the road that has increased the traffic considerably at that light. But they did not adjust the light accordingly. That means that there is usually a very, very long wait to make that left turn. The wait has increased even more as the traffic has increased due to the detour. But, there is another way! We are able to wind our way through a couple of local developments and it does save several minutes, especially depending on the time of day. So, I was thinking about this and realized that this, too, sometimes happens in life. Sometimes God puts us on a detour. And then we feel like we have to wait…and wait. But sometimes there is another way to solve a problem. Sometimes there is a back road to lead us to a solution. Now, of course, we cannot set out on that road without prayer and meditation on scripture. If you reach a dead end in a car, you just turn around and then check your smart phone or GPS to help you get out of your mess. Not quite so in real life. But sometimes there is another way. Sometimes God will show us a way out or a solution that we never even dreamed of. Sometimes we need to take a risk. And sometimes He will tell us we just need to wait. Of course, the key is waiting on Him to show you the direction to go.
3. Sometimes we just need to patiently wait. For several weeks now, the road crew that is supposed to be working has not been working. The big machines just sit there, while the whole south side of town is inconvenienced in their daily lives. I don’t know if it has to do with weather or what, but the road is still in place and we could be using it. But we can’t. Sometimes in life this happens, too. We feel like we are just waiting, but nothing is happening. Nothing is changing. We are taking this detour for nothing. But, unlike the road work I am watching and can see with my eyes, sometimes God works in ways we can’t see. Sometimes things–good things– happen that we will never find out about until we get to heaven. We need to trust and keep doing what we know is right to do.
4. Turn around immediately. When we leave church we always turn right out of the parking lot to go home. But with this detour, we need to turn left. We are having a difficult time remembering to turn left when we leave the parking lot and often end up having to turn around. If we continued going, we would eventually get home, but it would take an awful lot longer. Sometimes, life is like that, isn’t it? We are convicted of a sin in our life, but life happens, and at the end of the day, we realize that once again we have succumbed to that sin. We need to turn around and go the right way. We should turn around right away. Because if we don’t, we will need to take the very long (and often painful) road back home. And sometimes, the sin may so ensnare us, that we never make it back home at all.
5. Sometimes the detour is necessary to solve a problem. It is a temporary inconvenience to a permanent solution. And so it is sometimes in our lives. An infected wound needs to be painfully opened and dealt with before it can heal. And so it is with our lives. Sometimes we need to be painfully dealt with or inconvenienced or are told to wait…because we need to grow or heal in a certain area. Sometimes we figure it all out…often we don’t.
6. Maybe the detour is not about me. Obviously, this road detour is NOT about me…or any individual. It is for the greater good of the community overall. Perhaps some of the detours in our life are about others, as well. We are taking them because of something in someone else’s life. And it would be quite biblical to say that ALL detours allowed in our lives are to be used to glorify God. Sometimes, when we turn the focus on ourselves instead of on God, we wallow in our despair and endless complaints instead of turning our hearts toward the One who made us and has given us breath. We need to remember that all that God allows in our life comes from Him. And, I guess we have come full circle from point one and I am repeating myself! But it is a worthy point to repeat. We have to submit to God’s will. Whatever it may be. And His will is about bringing glory to His name and reaching others for Him. It is not about me. Let’s get our focus off of ourselves today and place it where it belongs.
Job 23:10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Psalms 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.