God provides detours if we pay attention
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:17–18a)
The Israelites left Egypt, but the direction God sent them was neither the fastest, nor the easiest. Scripture tells us God led them by way of an unexpected route to protect them. He knew armies would attack and such direct conflict would surely bring discouragement.1
Kristen Welch writes about such unexpected detours in her book Rhinestone Jesus:
… I think most of us view roadblocks in our path of life as setbacks. These obstacles alter our journeys and leave us discouraged. But God provides detours if we pay attention. When we choose to see His alternate route as an opportunity for something new rather than a dead end, it shifts our perspective.2
We have to be careful not to discount a detour. Instead, look to see if the detour is actually something God is doing because he knows what is best. Though we may never know the precise timing in all these things, we can have confidence that God knows how to work all things together for our good.
Just because the road is more difficult does not mean it is not God’s best way. Think about the difficulty of childbirth, or getting in shape. Such challenges are painful, but can end up producing good in and for us. Deployment can certainly be a painful, out of the ordinary situation; but if God is involved, the chances of it being something good are much better!
In what ways is it difficult for you to view deployment or other challenging situations as something God can use for good? Can you think of times in your life when a detour ended up being a blessing?
Prayer for the Journey
Father, I do not like detours and places where I cannot see the road ahead. Help me not to whine or bemoan difficult places, but rather trust that, because you are present, you will bring something good from the experience. Amen.
1 Peter Enns, Exodus: The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 279.
2 Kristen Welch, Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith is No Longer Enough (Nashville, TN: Tyndale Momentum, 2014), 11.