As we were driving to church this morning I noticed a sign, “Detour Ahead.” When we are driving, we don’t like to see these kinds of signs – they always mean a delay from the way we intended to go. I’ve always seen the hand of God in road signs. Can you imagine God putting a giant “Yield” sign in your life? Or a “Stop” sign at just the moment you need it.
Sometimes God puts a “Detour Ahead” sign in front of us. The detour might be big or small but it keeps us from going the way we originally intended to go. Maybe it is moving to take care of an aging parent. Maybe it is a diagnosis of cancer or an unintended pregnancy. Maybe it is a divorce. Maybe it is having to go to college for an extra semester because you are missing a class necessary to graduate. Maybe plans fell through or your friends wouldn’t go along or you found out you didn’t enjoy something as much as you thought you would. Many times we think we are headed one direction only to find that God has placed a “detour ahead” and we end up going in a different direction entirely.
When we are faced with detours, we can choose how to respond. We can be impatient and sullen, resenting the change of plans. Or we can learn to accept that the ways we want to go may not be God’s ways. We may learn that in order to be faithful we have to follow the detour and change our plans.
Sometimes the detours have nothing to do with God’s plan for us – they may be the consequences of our (or others) bad choices. They may be something we have absolutely no control over. God is watching how we handle those detours in our lives. Do we look to him for guidance? Are we open to his leading even in bad situations? Do we rebel and give up?
We are never sure where detours in our lives are going to take us. But as long as we understand that God is still traveling with us, we will be all right. It may not be easy and sometimes we might struggle to accept the detours. But God can direct our ways, even through the detours. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
What kind of detours have you encountered in your life? Looking back, can you see how God has been with you through it all? If so, then we can certainly trust him to be with us when we see “Detour Ahead.”