Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Detours Can Turn into Blessings

"Oh, great!" thought Joyce. "A great beginning to my day — a detour!"

Joyce drives from her home to work each day by the same route using several country back roads. She said, "One October day I was feeling down. I sometimes get depressed during the fall season of the year because my only child died at that time of year."

"The depression seemed to be worse this year," she continued. "To match my mood, the usual fall colors had been late in coming, and the colors had not been as brilliant as usual."

"I was making my way through the countryside when I came to a railroad crossing that was closed for repairs — a detour. I wasn't happy about it, but I found an alternate route. I've lived in this area all my life," she said, "but I couldn't remember when I had last been down the road I decided to take. As I came over a small rise, a spectacular scene unfolded before me: the most beautiful set of trees I have ever seen with vibrant fall colors. It took my breath away."

"And then it hit me," said Joyce. "God had sent me on that detour to bless me, to show me one of the beauties of His creation. It lifted my spirit and that feeling stayed with me throughout the day."

I was bowled over by Joyce's recognition that this small inconvenience was from God, and His sole purpose was to bless her and comfort her as she grieved for her daughter.

Can God create detours? Absolutely! This question was answered unequivocally for me in a Bible study class on the Book of Exodus, the story of the Israelites as they were led from slavery out of Egypt. Listen to these words from Exodus 13:17-18,

"God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter ... God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea." (NIV)

The Red Sea, of course, was the site of one of God's greatest displays of power: the parting of the waters so the fleeing Israelites could pass on dry ground. Without a doubt, God planned that detour.

We are impatient human beings! We want our minute-by-minute plans uninterrupted. But God may want us to slow down and open our eyes to His wonders.

In Isaiah 41:20 the Prophet Isaiah recounts God's wonders of nature, followed by these words:

"... so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it." (NIV)

The next time you experience a detour, immediately pray to discern God's leading. Open your eyes. Watch and wait to see if the Lord is working in an unexpected way. You may be in store for a blessing you never anticipated.

Reprinted with permission from Diane Pearson. This devotion is adapted from one in her book, God in the Midst of Grief: 101 True Stories of Comfort, © 2011, Carpenter's Son Publishing, Franklin, TN.

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