Detoured But Not Derailed

Taking a detour often takes you on an uncharted adventure. Seeing sights you may not have seen. Encountering people you may not have met. Finding a new road you may have never driven before. 

And when you take the detour, you trust the signs you are following to get you back on your original route. Especially if you’re in a city you’ve never visited.

But sometimes, the detour routes you a different way, and you end up on a different road. You consult the GPS but get no definitive answer. Confusion sets in, and it looks like you may have to stop and ask a human for directions.

You notice that the sun is going down. It’s the end of a long day. You’re tired and getting crabby. You can’t remember the last time you ate or drank some water. The gas gauge is moving toward E.

Now, you have a choice to make. Will you keep going forward, or will you pull over and stop for the night? You begin to weigh your options and the consequences. And the route you’re on is leading you farther in the direction you think you don’t want to go.

That’s what becoming a widow was like for me. I thought I was heading down that road of marriage to at least our 25th wedding anniversary. I had resigned from my job, married Gene, relocated to a new city, become a mom by marriage to three teenagers, accepted the assignment of pastor’s wife. I knew I was definitely on the right road. The road I wanted to be on.

Diabetes had other plans for us, however. Gene had struggled with being diabetic for many years. This disease is a thief, stealing from every part of a person’s body. It began to steal from Gene.

Before we realized what was happening, our life was taking a long detour. And the final destination was a shock. I stood with the kids at the cemetery, looking at a newly dug grave. I was where I never wanted to be. I was a widow.

At that point, I had no map or GPS to tell me where to go. There were no signs pointing me in the right direction. I felt like I was tied to the bumper of a pick-up truck and being dragged through potholes on unfamiliar country roads. That was 13 years and many choices and decisions ago.

We never know when life’s circumstances will send us on a detour. But we do know the master cartographer who charts the course. Regardless of the circumstances, God’s greatest desire is that we travel with him. 

Yes, there will be bumps in the road and fog and sharp curves and scary hills. Fear may send you into the rest area. You may take a wrong turn ― on purpose. You may get lost or wander around aimlessly for a while. And you may have questions for God along the way. 

Be assured that his promise to never leave us or forsake us is greater than any difficulties we will ever encounter. His love is the power we need to keep going and to go in the right direction.

Put your complete trust in God. His way is the only way and the best way. His Word is your map. His grace is your fuel. He will never let you down. 

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16:11).