It was a beautiful autumn morning; a cool nip in the air and a bird on the wing. Crunchy autumn leaves played a rustling game of tag on the roadside. I hopped into my little blue car; off to visit my beautiful, 91 year old friend Iris. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to her house the usual way - the road leading to hers was being dug up. Oh well, I’d try a different route then. I did a 3 point turn and turned back the way I’d come. To my consternation, I found that the alternative route was blocked as well.
Hmm. What do I do? Oh! I knew. I turned into a little parking bay on a side of the road. I’d have to walk from there. As I began to stroll towards the Rose garden, it seemed that the world was conspiring against me. The footpath I’d chosen was closed; bright orange flags declaring loudly that that path too was out of bounds. There was only one thing to do. Take a detour. And so I did. As I turned the corner, I looked at the path ahead and my eyes lit up in wonder.
The road ahead lay before me in autumn loveliness; sparkling sunshine dancing. The trees had shed golden carpets under them. Breathtaking beautiful. I breathed deeply. I savoured the scene. My heart was filled. Thank you God, I breathed. A flock of Galah birds descended on the lime green grass in an exotic array of pink and grey plumage. There were splashes of colour all around me – green, blue, gold, pink, grey. I revelled in the moment.
What a blessing then that I’d been forced to take that detour. The cool morning air brushed against my skin; the clear blue sky greeted me with a friendly hello. I soaked in the sight of the colour splashed world that spun cheerfully and brightly around its axis. Joy bubbled deep within, a fountain that overflowed.
It was then I realised the deeper truth of that detour. A lesson about the detours of life. Many times I baulk at them. But they often make a trip more invigorating. Detours help me pause and look at life in a whole new way. They help me find fresh enjoyment in my expedition. New lessons learnt. Old joys re-discovered.
Recently, I was forced to take a sudden detour on my own life’s journey. I’d been expecting to cruise on life’s highway at 100 kmph. I was blissfully ignorant of what lay ahead. When I reached the end of the road there was a ‘Road closed’ sign flashing in red before me. Sad and troubled, I asked God what to do. He placed His loving arms around me; whispered in my ear. He asked me to slow down; to turn off a side road. To stop awhile.
Grief became my portion. Bewilderment my attire. Questions my head-dress. I stopped my car on a side road. Put off the ignition. Got out. There was only one thing I could do. To follow my Guide. And of course He did not disappoint. He offered me a glimpse of good things to come on the enchanting new pathway He’d been preparing for me. And oh – how stunning the view!
I have to confess that it took some determined effort to begin to enjoy that detour. But as God’s grace washed over me, I was able to relax. I began to revel in the sights and sounds and new vistas the detour brought me. I was given my heart’s desire. More time to spend with God – just what I’d asked for. More opportunities to read and rest; to enjoy the journey. To seek His heart. To live in the moment. To trust. To grow. To live. To love.
Has a detour arrived unexpectedly into your horizon? Are you perplexed? Wait a minute…. Perhaps it’s a special gift from our Father? Maybe it’s time to stop on a side road. To enjoy a glimpse into fresh vistas. To refresh your spirit. To discover a new route that life’s bringing your way. God specialises in gifts covered in unusual wrapping paper. His detours might seem strange and unplanned.
But the beauty of life with Jesus is that no matter what, we can continue to trust Him. He is always faithful. His ways may not be straightforward or simple. But Your Guide knows where He’s leading you. And He will always lead you through perfect paths planned for you. So let’s breathe a prayer of thanksgiving and enjoy the ride. Our Guide’s blessings never run dry. And we can gladly enjoy the journey.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
“Whether you turn to the right or left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying ‘This is the way walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11