LIFES UNANNOUNCED DETOURS

by CHARLES ROBEY
(MOODY AL USA)

PROLOGUE

Ever been confounded by road detour signs; those unexpected detours appearing out of nowhere? Why is it that they always seem to pop up when you’re in a hurry? And then, after taking the detour, you can’t seem to find any follow-up directional signs? It’s called Murphy’s Law - If anything can go wrong, it will. Oftentimes, our Christian lives seem to fall into the same category.

Does God give us, His children detours? For this all-important question, I went straight to the Internet. I don’t necessarily count on this high-tech information channel for all things, but sometimes it will lead my thinking cap in the right direction. So, here goes the Internet again, in part.

“Similarly, God will take us on a detour because He is constructing something in our lives as well. Granted, detours are anything but convenient. They take you out of the way. They take longer than you originally had planned to travel. But they are necessary. God is more interested in our development than our arrival.”

“Often times, we may feel just like we are running into detour after detour, in our Christian experience. Human nature being the way it is, it’s easy to feel that way. Just maybe your life’s journey is really a God-driven destiny of life.”

"Similarly, to a road construction detour having many construction points taking place, so perhaps your spiritual road needs mending as well."

“And much like a road detour inconveniently hindering a quick path forward, the same may be needed within our spiritual lives. The old cliché: "stop and smell the roses” could adamantly apply. Our God is more interested in the final chapter of our lives, that of our Christian growth, than our instant secular comfort.”

When searching for an applicable title for this blog, I seemed to be divinely directed. You see, we all have them from both a secular and spiritual viewpoint as we move through life’s uncertainness, “Life’s Unannounced Detours.”

(Jeremiah 29:11-13)”For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”

Summer had been left behind. Fall was moving in with a whisper of winter in the air. My pillow seemed to enjoy the thoughts of returning to a day gone by, as I lay peacefully and calm, hoping to softly move into my sleep world. If only I may shake these thoughts of my astute religious studies for just a spell. My week had taken its toll on this nearly worn-out religious professor. Guess it is in fact about time to pull the pin.

In spite of it all, within the mysteries of my mind, my dream world was not so polite. I couldn’t shake it, those memories gone by. I gave way and moved on into the start of another unadjusted dream episode. Where will I be this time? What will be the mystery of it all, the plot, its characters, the joy or sorrow of its ending? Well, come now, let’s enjoy the adventure together.

I got out of my vehicle and was standing all alone staring at the big yellow road detour sign, no other vehicles in sight. What will I do? I need to move on but the unexpected roadblock has made my journey virtually impossible. Without a signal guard, I’ll never make it in to work on time, and I surely can’t risk another late arrival. At best my future college teaching tenure seems to hang in the balance, these days.

Wait, where did he come from? Out of nowhere, a man quickly approached the scene. He had to be the much-needed road helper. He was dressed in a bright orange vest, and yellow safety helmet. In his hand was a big red caution signal flag.

'Is he the one? Will he help me? How can I approach this unknown character?' I silently pondered in my mind. Nonetheless, my worries were mysteriously over as, apparently reading my concerned face, he quickly spoke up.

“Why are you so worried, my dear friend? It’s my job. I’m here to swiftly guide you through life’s unexpected struggles safely and carefully.”

That’s when the mystery miracle continued. His big red signal flag suddenly and mysteriously changed to a big shiny black Bible. Opening it up, he began to read.

“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD." (Isaiah 11:2)

This well directed Bible verse seemed to fit this unknown stranger to a tee. The miracle of miracles continued on. At the conclusion of his Bible reading, the stranger’s big black Bible turned back into his signal flag.

With a wave of the flag the big detour sign disappeared, clearing the path and opening up the road. Not only did I have a clear path through, but the time had also moved backwards to that of my first arrival.

“Being instantly caried away with it all, I had to thank this stranger. However, apparently by some sort of divine action, he had disappeared plum out of sight.

He and the scene had instantly disappeared from sight. Yes, I was still in bed. It was if I had never left. If only I could have talked to that kind angel of sorts, for the questions were clearly and justifiably swirling in this ole religious mind of mine. Was he a real live divinely placed person, or was it simply another of my dream world episodes?

Oh well, maybe he will return someday in another dream sequel, if I’m lucky. I may be older than dirt and twice as gritty, but this old worn-out Bible professor did manage to get the message, by way of my Scripture follow-up devotion. I promise to no longer struggle with my man-made anxiety.

”And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

So, stay tuned, we may return to another dream sequel someday, if the Lord tarries.

EPILOGUE

I trust you enjoyed this bit of faith-based musing. Detours, we all have them as we move through life. Some seculars, some spiritually induced. Oftentimes we’ve all been so sure that we were right that we were willing to force the facts to fit our perception of reality. More often than not that works out badly.”

I remember once working in the Appalachian Mountains, not being familiar with the country roads and being late for an appointment, I decided to risk a short cut. I was suddenly faced with a big bright road sign stating “Caution, this road ends in water."

Before I could find a turnaround, further down the road was a final caution sign giving the hours of the ferry operations. Obviously, I had missed the crossing, which meant I had to turn around and backtrack. My journey ended that night not only missing my customer appointment but attempting to find a suitable motel for the night.

A lyric from an old song goes like this, “Detour, there’s a muddy road ahead, Detour, paid no mind to what it said; Detour, all these bitter things I find; Should have read that Detour sign.” I am one who learns most by actually doing whatever it is I am trying to learn. (Internet)

To this I simply shout a big Amen.

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