When Life Gives You Detours
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 (NASB)
Part of my role as pastor involves mentoring and counseling. I can honestly say I enjoy this aspect of being a pastor immensely. Not too long ago, one of the men from the church came to my home to meet with me. He had been going through a rough time.
As he sat in my family room, head hung low, he lifted his eyes to mine and said, “Pastor, I feel as if my detour has met another detour, and they got married and had a baby detour.”
In other words, he felt as if he were running into detour after detour after detour, and the detours merely kept replicating and multiplying rather than taking him anywhere meaningful.
It’s easy to feel that way when God is taking you to your destiny. This is because before you can ever get to where God wants you to be, He has to do some twists and turns. In life, as it is often on the road, detours exist because construction is taking place. When you’re on a highway and there’s a detour, it is usually because workers are trying to fix, build, correct or improve something.
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 your development than your arrival. He cares more for your character than your comfort, your purity than your productivity.
Keep in mind, development is not an event. Neither is it a one-size-fits-all experience.
Development takes time, tests, failure and overcoming. God knows each one of us individually. He knows what we each need in order to develop and strengthen our spiritual muscles and sharpen our spiritual insight and wisdom. More often than not, this requires detours in life to allow us the opportunity to learn, grow and develop.
We see this play out in Romans 5:3-5, which reads: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
God has a destiny for you. He has a place for you and a purpose that He wants you to live out. But it may not happen tomorrow. You probably won’t get there by going in a straight line. Rarely does God take someone to the destiny He has for them without taking them on a detour … or two or 10 or even 100.
It is the one-in-a-million Christian who gets to go from point A to B to C and straight on to Z. Most often, God takes us from A to F to D to R to B to Q and so on. We never know which letter He’s pulling out next, either. That’s why patience is a preeminent virtue needed in order to reach our destiny.
Yes, I understand — detours can disappoint, momentarily. But when you allow them to produce hope, God promises that hope will not disappoint.
Heavenly Father, thank You for these lessons on detours and how You use them to positively impact my life. Please open my eyes to see how You have done this in my past and even how You are presently doing this in the situations I face. I want to approach life’s detours in a mature manner so I don’t cause additional delays. Increase my wisdom, patience and insight so I can honor You in all of life’s detours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)
God often displays His great power in the midst of our detours, trials and obstacles. If you’d like to discover more on how God can turn things around for you, download the free sermon by Tony Evans called “Divine Reversals,” here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Share how you feel when you come across a detour while you’re driving. Do you ever take into consideration the detour’s purpose, and does that impact your emotions at that moment? How might understanding that your personal detours (as opposed to those you experience while driving) can actually have a purpose affect your view of them?
Read Psalm 37:5. What does it mean to “commit your way to the Lord?” Can you simultaneously hold on to “your way” and “commit” it to God? Why or why not?
© 2018 by Dr. Tony Evans. All rights reserved.