I had an appointment two hours away this week and as I was checking the map that morning I saw that there was an hour delay. Thankfully I was able to leave an hour early with no issue and when I got to the detour we were out in the country, I mean like barns and farms, at some points for quite awhile. It was a beautiful autumn morning. Getting off the highway, got me into the trees with all of their beautiful colors. At first I was so preoccupied with my thoughts about the destination, not literally for that day, but for my life as I’m focusing on what is to come next after this season of transition in my life and I was missing all of the beauty around me. I pulled up to a stop light and the road to my right descended down a hill with awesome orange, yellow and red colors bathed in the bright morning sun as it rose from that same direction in the east. I realized how I was missing the beauty because I was focusing on the destination. I thought about how I had left the highway and was going to drive an extra hour in the country, but I was still going to get to my appointment on time. In fact I got to my appointment literally right on time…We have divine appointments that God has written into our books (see Psalm 139:16, yes we each have a book He took the time to write as He thought about us in His love before we were conceived). He is not only the Author but also the Matchmaker and He has appointments set up for us with our husband or our wife, with our friends, even with our children for when they will be conceived and born. He is the ultimate appointment maker and keeper…but that doesn’t mean we will be continually buzzing along a highway from one divine appointment to another. Instead we will have unexpected detours that His grace has planned for and we will find ourselves driving out in the country.
Some parts of the detour yesterday morning were bathed in sunlight, but other parts were covered in a dense fog where I could not see very far in front of me. The detour signs were kind of far between, and there were a few times I felt a bit nervous, wondering if I had lost my way. I had never driven that way before and I do not fully trust my GPS. I just had to keep on driving in faith that I had followed the path that the last detour sign had pointed out and that I had not missed a new detour sign telling me to turn to the right or to the left. I had to resist the temptation at one point to not take another path at a V in the road, because it seemed to me that the person in front of me that turned that way had been part of the detour “group” of cars. I decided to not follow them and I am glad I didn’t, as eventually the next detour sign came up again, encouraging and reassuring me that I was on the right path.
Some parts of this “drive” we call life will be us taking detours off of the highway. Detours can be bathed in marvelous beauty, while other parts will be covered in a thick fog. We will have to walk by faith and remember the instructions our Shepherd gave us because sometimes we not see or hear from Him for a moment when we feel lost in a dense fog. We will have to stay focused on the path right here, right now, right in front of us so we don’t get lost, so we don’t lose focus, or our way. Other sheep on the trail may need to take a right or a left, but we need to stay where we are walking or running along at the pace God has decided is best for us and on the path that He has designated for us, not that other driver ahead of us. The Lord will speak to us when we need to turn to the right or the left, but until that time we need to keep on the path He placed us on and watch for Him or listen for Him to direct and lead us at those perfect times, whether it be a time of fog or sunlight.
Eventually I made it back to the highway and I was off buzzing along again at a fast speed, straight ahead to my important appointment and like I said, I made it on time. Just like there are times for detours in life there are times to get on the highway and step on the gas, go, go, go, onward into our destiny. We can endanger ourselves and others during our “highway” times in life if we try to stay “in our country pace” on the highway. When we are on the highway we need to keep up.
My dad is a former ultra-marathoner. That means He would run 120 mile races. When he would do an ultra-marathon he could not literally run the entirety at once. He would have to stop, eat, sleep, and recharge. The Bible talks about us running the race until we get to heaven. We have to stay fit for the race – and interestingly enough, for a truly long distance race like life that means part of staying fit is stopping to rest, stopping to eat, taking it slow, but at other times giving it our all and actually running.
Our Shepherd will help us. He leads us to green pastures and still waters, but also through the valleys and up and over the mountains. It is an ultra-marathon, but He is with us.
I will have to trust God that He will help everyone He wants me to meet up with to make it to our divine appointments on time and in the meantime I will enjoy the drive along the way to my destiny, whether it is belting out praise and worship songs along the highway, gripping the wheel in the fog…or marveling for a moment at the beauty along sunlit country trails.
Life is beautiful and the drive is part of our story, it is part of my destiny too.
What about all of the detours that were not what God wanted for my life, the ones caused by my sin or by sins of others against me, or just the grief and sorrows of life? Well I just have to remember that my destiny as a daughter of God is ultimately to be part of the Bride of Christ and He can take the most broken, the most horrible, the most appalling things in my life and He can heal me, He can bind me up, He can protect me and redeem me. He can restore me and sustain me even when things don’t make sense. My Shepherd is with me and someday I will see Him face to beautiful face as He has adorned me and prepared me for Himself with His love. Even when the detours don’t make sense, even when we are in the deep darkness of the shadow of death God is with us, leading us to Himself.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21