We’ve all experienced them—unexpected detours. When we’re traveling and on a schedule, they can cause discouragement and distraction.
I was recently traveling on a Sunday morning to speak at three services at a church in Houston. I set my GPS and left in plenty of time to arrive early. But unbeknownst to me—and to my GPS—an entire stretch of the freeway was closed that day. I had to exit and find another GPS that could recalibrate the trip and give me an alternate route.
The same thing happens in life. We have dreams of doing great things, then things happen that cause us to lose sight of those things. We find ourselves journeying far from the path we thought God had for us. We get the wind knocked out, and we lose our vision of hope.
Unexpected detours and unexpected disruptions can bring discouragement and distract us from our intended destination. Focusing on our disappointments can lead to disillusionment. During these times, it’s important to remember that God has not forgotten us. He has a plan and a purpose that are far greater than the temporary circumstances that plague us. His Word over our lives is true and He will be faithful to complete it. God’s love never disappoints.
UNCOMMON & UNCOMPROMISING
Greatness is not something we’re born with, it’s something we step into.
When I was detoured that Sunday morning and driving in unfamiliar territory, I passed a billboard with
the words, “UNCOMMON” and “UNCOMPROMISING.” I realized God was speaking to me that, when
confronted with unexpected detours in life, there are always UNCOMMON and UNCOMPROMISING men and women who arise in greatness for the moment.
We’ve seen this over and over again in the past year and a half as we’ve come into communities that have experienced major hurricanes, wildfires, and mass shootings. We’ve seen common people who themselves have suffered so much yet chose to rise to the moment and sacrificially serve others.
‘Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ (Haggai 2:4-5)
In these verses, God exhorts us with four powerful reminders:
Your unexpected detour is not a time to shrink back, but a time to press in. It’s a time to be strong and work. It’s a time to remember the joy of your salvation. And as we stand fast in the Word and on His promises over our lives, we enter into that moment of greatness.
God’s faithfulness and goodness are ever-present. Circumstances can cause us to doubt His word for our lives. But when we stop and reflect on the landmarks of our past and what He has done, we see His faithfulness remains steadfast.
The Apostle Paul experienced many unexpected detours while serving the Lord. He recounts some of them while exhorting the Church in Corinth to stand firm in the faith when things did not go their way.
“Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”
(2 Corinthians 11: 25-28)
In the midst of these detours, Paul realized God was directing them for His greater purposes. They were often Divine Interruptions to take the Gospel to places that would otherwise be left out.
When Paul was a prisoner, shipwrecked on Malta and bitten by a poisonous serpent, he did not despair or abandon the vision of his destination – instead, Paul allowed himself to be used by God to heal everyone on the island who had diseases. When God’s work was done there, He took Paul on to Rome (Acts 27-28).
I experienced this principle in my journey through cancer. During that very busy season of facilitating major prayer gatherings in several states around the country, I also had to spend a lot of time, that I did not think I had, in M.D. Anderson Hospital with chemo and doctor visits.
It is not something I would have chosen or considered a ministry, but it became one. Each time I went, God opened doors of ministry to patients, care givers, medical professionals, and guests – people who needed a touch from the Lord at a desperate time in their lives. If I had not been willing to see God’s hand in that life detour, His Divine Interruption, I would have missed opportunities to bring God’s love, truth, and comfort to so many who were hurting. Even now, three years later, people going through personal difficulties and illnesses seek us out for prayer and solace because they know we can relate.
We must learn to see God’s purposes in our lives. He may be using the detour to refine our character or
to minister truth and healing to others. He always wants to bring glory to His name.
MAY IT COME TO PASS
When we experience tragedy, sudden loss, or even temporary setbacks, we must stand on the goodness and faithfulness of God and continue to declare His Word over our lives.
In 2 Chronicles 6:17, Solomon prayed, ‘And now, O Lord God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David.’
Solomon knew the word of God spoken over his father, David, and that word carried the promises for his own life. Now Solomon cried out to the Lord to let that word come true that he might see it come to pass.
We too, must pray earnestly for the purposes of God to come to pass in our lives. We are not to sit idly by, waiting to see what will happen all around us. God invites us to become partners with Him to see His Word come to pass. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God’s nature is unchanging. He is faithful to His Word. He has not forgotten you or His promises for
your life. Countless are His thoughts toward you – always! (Ps. 139:17-18). Keep your eyes fixed on Him as He leads you to your destination!