This summer has been an especially busy travel time for us, logging more than 5,000 miles by car so far and we are not yet into autumn. We have enjoyed so much of the beauty of much of this country and sweet fellowship with family and friends, but we have also seen more than a few orange barrels and jersey walls.
There were the long delays along I-90 around Chicago as well as a section of the road through Yellowstone National Park heading west to name only two. Then on trips heading east we saw similar signs and delays on the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes. All of these construction areas and detours also seem to bring with them more than one or two accidents as everyone tries to slow down or speed up, move over or stop. The hazards involved are many and often dangerous to navigate.
None of us enjoy detours and construction! One major reason is that they s-l-o-w us down and we tend to have very little patience for anything that interferes with our plans or timetables.
That is also true when it comes to things beyond travel. When we make a plan for our day, our week, our year, or our life and suddenly we get a curve ball that forces us to slow down, switch on our hazard lights, make a detour or halt movement, our inside world starts to scream! We had everything planned out and everything else in our life was arranged around this plan. Our first reaction might be to try to avoid the detour. After all, the road beyond the signs looks like it is in good shape and there isn’t even any traffic on it!
But why are the detours there? They exist because construction is occurring and that may very well be true as well for our plans beyond our travel. It’s true we may have a plan. We may have thought it through carefully, prayed about it, and sought prayer from others, but sometimes we don’t have all the information our Creator does about the path we have chosen nor do we see all of what He is seeking to work out and develop in and through us. Sometimes a detour is the only way He can slow us down to allow His construction to go forward.
What informs my opinion?
There are many examples that quickly come to mind. Abraham went to Canaan with a promise to become a great nation but his nephew, Lot, chose the well-watered land that left Abraham with the arid land. Then he learned Sarah was barren. God wanted to build faith, trust and character in Abraham on the way to raising up a nation through him. The child from whom a great nation would grow did not arrive until Abraham and Sarah were old.
Joseph had dreams of promise that he eagerly shared with his brothers and dad, but they came to a screeching halt when his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt where the Lord used false accusations and jail time to root out pride and build humility he would need to be a leader.
Moses was spared to be the one who would lead God’s chosen people out of Egypt to the Promised Land, but on the way to the task he killed an Egyptian and lost his confidence until God gave him Aaron as a mouthpiece. Even when Pharaoh finally kicked him out and he led Israel across the Red Sea he stumbled in his obedience and took a detour to die on the top of a mountain instead of entering the Promised Land.
There are more than a few examples throughout the Bible, but the examples don’t stop in those times. They continue into the current day. I have had more than one or two detours in my life while the Lord worked on constructing something in me that I didn’t even know was needed or missing! No, I didn’t like it very much, but now as I look back over the landscape of my life I can see He meant it for my good and His glory!