God is in the Detours

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Psalm 16:9

I got lost on the way to church last week.

It wasn’t the church we usually attend; my husband has been filling in there for several weeks, but I hadn’t been before. The church is several towns away in a community I’ve never explored. Dean needed to leave earlier than the boys and I, so I printed off the map and headed west.

Apparently, Google didn’t know about the off-ramp construction. And I didn’t know that the exit signs I needed were boarded over. So one wrong turn led to another before I found a way to plug in the Garmin and get directions that didn’t include the freeway off-ramps. We arrived just before they sent out a search party, but we got there.

One good thing came of my wandering; I drove past a favorite restaurant that we wouldn’t have known was nearby if my route had taken me directly to the church. When church was over, it was nice to have a comfortable, familiar place to go. I know it’s a minor thing, but the significance wasn’t lost on me.

Sometimes our life journey goes that way. We want a straight path directly to what comes next. But so often, we seem to get from point A to point B via half the rest of the alphabet (if we get to point B at all).

It’s so much easier to prepare for the journey when we know just where we’re going. We can check the weather so we know what to pack. Any number of devices will tell us turn by turn how to reach our destination.

And yet, like a cosmic version of “The Amazing Race,” we can’t anticipate every roadblock or detour and we feel we’re off course, wondering how, when and if we’ll make it to our final destination.

Sometimes that makes it feel like we’re doing something wrong. But look at all the detours in scripture. Some were correcting the wrong path chosen by someone else, but sometimes, God put that detour in the road with His own destination in mind:

Abraham and Isaac and the burning bush.
Ruth losing her first husband
Paul being blinded on his way to Damascus

All of these people set off on a particular path, probably fairly certain of their destination. But along the way God said, “Wait, I want you over here instead.”

In the past couple years we’ve occasionally felt as though we must have made a wrong turn somewhere along the way. But we know that as long as we follow the signs along the path He’s leading us along, we will arrive where we need to be–even if it turns out to be a more ‘scenic’ journey than we had in mind!

4 Responses to God is in the Detours
  1. Val Garner
    October 26, 2010 | 4:34 pm

    I can so relate, I feel like my whole LIFE is on a major detour right now, but He’s with me and leading me.

    Cool that you found a great restaurant!

  2. Siobhan
    October 26, 2010 | 10:45 pm

    I so feel this is me you’re talking about. Lost in unfamiliar territory and my destination isn’t as clear anymore… But i needed this a lot, 2 just know God is with this lost gal and Ja i just needed this 🙂 in afrikaans we say dankie Mary and it means thank you

  3. BarbieS
    October 26, 2010 | 10:57 pm

    What a wonderful post. I’ve had some detours in my life this last year. It’s nice to know that God comes with me on those detours!

  4. Carolyn
    October 27, 2010 | 11:50 am

    Hey, Mary!

    Very nice post. How neat to find you here! I learned so much more about you today. I definitely feel my life has been on a 17 year detour…..wow! All the things you learn on these detours!