Detours

English: Detour in direction indicatedA couple of weeks ago I was traveling towards a destination that was only 10 minutes from my house.  The drive is one that I have made for several years and is as uncomplicated as they come. But on this particular day my 10 minute drive turned into strife, facing the unknown, followed by a notable amount of anxiety.

There was nothing strange or unusual about the day.  The sun was shining, the temperature was near perfect, and a slight breeze was in the air.  All was smooth sailing until the last half mile of my journey when traffic began to slow and I noticed that both sides of the highway was lined with parked cars.  Pedestrians…and cyclist came into view and as I crept forward it was obvious that my all familiar road had become part of a bike race.

I quickly began to think of my options…but they didn’t exist. I could not turn around or even pull off to the side of the road. All I could do was continue to creep at the speed of snail until I came upon a police officer who, no doubt, took his traffic control very seriously.  It was then that I sternly received a stiff forearm to turn left (when I wanted to turn right) and instantly found myself in unfamiliar territory.

Okay, now which way do I go? But sadly there were no police or signs pointing towards an alternative route. The option to turn around and head back in the direction that I came from was not available.  An inconvenient road block had been staged and all that was available to me was a road that lead away from my destination and progressed for quite awhile before it offered any alternatives.  I had been detoured and if I didn’t want to remain on this strange road I needed to calm down, get my bearings and find my way out.

*  *  *

Have you ever noticed that life also has its share of detours?  Unexpected experiences that place us instantly onto roads that are not pleasant, convenient, or planned. Roads taking us to unfamiliar territory with dark and scary places that offers a left turn to heartache and a right turn to pain.  Life’s detours will come, and when they do they can rob us of peace, security and comfort, and turn us onto roads of fear, desperation, sadness, and despair.

Every day unforeseen circumstances in life forces someone onto a detoured road.   No one plans them, no one wants them, but sadly they happen. It may be me, it may be you or it may happen to a family member or a friend.  But the harsh reality is that they will come, and when they do, they will interrupt life.

So when these detours happen how do we calm down, gather our bearings and find our way out? How do we reclaim peace, security and comfort?  How do we obtain confidence in knowing that as we journey through the valley of shadows that we will emerge stronger and more grounded then we were before?

I have lived long enough to have experienced many detours in life.  I have walked through them prior to accepting christ and after.  And I will attest that my journeys through the shadows have been much easier to bear since I became a christian.  So is this the answer? Is Christ the golden thread in the midst of the grey fabric?  The answer is yes….and no.

Hold on now….did I say no?!  Did that cause your eyebrow to raise? Well its not as bad as you might think.

The “no” doesn’t lay the burden on Christ.  He is the answer, He is the golden thread. The burden of “no” rest on how much I relinquish control of the situation and trust Him to help me through. It is my invitation to Christ to walk with me through my difficult times that allows Him to weave His golden thread in the fabric of my life.  Its called faith, and how much I possess of it is exposed during these difficult times of trials, i.e. detours.  Ouch!

You see, I can be a christian and still struggle on my own.  I know, because I’ve done it. Perhaps not intentionally, but I have fretted and worried and made my self sick far longer then I should.  I’ve lost weight, hair, and peace as I’ve stumbled through the emotions brought by circumstances.  And I have run around in circles, holding my head shouting, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.” But all of that is because I did not tap into the powerful source that can lead me through the darkness and back into the light.  All because of self will, control, pride and a lack of faith and trust in this God I say I love.  Ouch again!

I can now attest, that as I have grown in my walk with Christ, that I no longer am caught in the snare of the detour.  Of course when unexpected circumstances occur, shock, disbelief, and other emotions make a visit. After all I’m human.  But my reaction in how to handle those emotions and lag time in calling on Christ to help me has drastically changed. He has become more to me then just my Savior. He is my Lord and friend.  And even though I still experience tears and pain I never lose peace.  I know….I KNOW that I do not walk alone, and that my deliverance doesn’t rely on my abilities to overcome but in His.  And He has already overcome them long before I ever will experience them.

  • Psalms 23: 4 “….Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff—they protect me.
  • Philippians 4:14 “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
  • Hebrews 13:6 “So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, what can man do to me?”
  • 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.”
  • Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I asked a few questions at the beginning of this post.  To recap here they are:

So when these detours happen how do we calm down, gather our bearings and find our way out? How do we reclaim peace, security and comfort?  How do we obtain confidence in knowing that as we journey through the valley of shadows that we will emerge stronger and more grounded then we were before?

I believe it depends on these things.  Faith, Trust, and an Invitation.

Faith in Christ.  Is He more to you then just your Savior?  Can He do more for you then save you from your sins? Luke 17:6  “And the Lord said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.”  Even if your faith is small, if you exercise it – it can sustain you through your darkest hours.

Trust in Christ.  This means you have to relinquish control and pride.  To recognize that you alone can not overcome the situation. That you need His help and guidance.

Invite Christ.  You made an awesome decision when you accepted Christ as your Savior.  What you proclaimed was that you are a sinner separated from God and in need of forgiveness.  And that is exactly what Christ did. He sacrificed His life to cover your sins so you can be restored to God.  He became your Savior.  However, there is more to be enjoyed.  An abundant life.  A life of blessings.  A life secured in peace and love. A life with the power to overcome all things through Christ.  Invite Christ to be your Lord and friend.  Ask Him to walk with you through the mountaintops and valley experiences. Invite Him into your detours.  When you do, you will experience the “peace that passes understanding” as you journey through the shadows of the valley.

Detours are guaranteed to come. They are not pleasant and bring a lot of baggage with them. However, if you elect, they can become a surprisingly valuable source in developing your faith and relationship with Christ.  Taking it to the next level. From Savior to Lord and Friend.

Though I walk through the valley of shadows I know…I KNOW…..He will never leave me or let me down. If you are experiencing a detour, a shadow in the valley.  I encourage you to invite Christ into your detour and let Him show you that He is not only your Savior but your Deliverer as well.

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4 thoughts on “Detours

Path walking is always enriched when joined by others. Won't you leave your footprints along the way?

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