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The Detours of Life

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Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.” Galatians 1:17

Recently while on a multi-state trip in my newly acquired vehicle, a notice appeared on the navigation screen advising me of a traffic jam caused by an accident ahead on my route. It asked if I wanted to be re-routed around the accident and I verbally said yes and instantly a new route screened and I was able to avoid the delay and be on my way.

At first I was irritated because the alternate route took me off the interstate highway I was on and took me through rural roads with small towns with lower speed limits, but in the end, I still saved time.

Do you sometimes get irritated with the detours in your life? Do you realize that sometimes God has a purpose?

Look at some prominent detours in the Bible. Detours, when we get off the main road, can be frustrating and time consuming. Yet in the spiritual life, God seems to allow us to be detoured. One of the longest detours of all time happened to the children of Israel in the wilderness. What should have taken them eleven days to enter the Promised Land turned into a forty-year detour in the desert.

That detour was due to their deplorable lack of faith in God’s conquering power. On the other hand, there were those who may have thought they were being detoured by God, but who later found they were on God’s perfect road of blessing all along.

Consider: 1) Moses was detoured into submission. Those forty years in the wilderness tending sheep were not a waste, but actually a training ground for tending Israel later on. The desert experience took all the trust in the arm of flesh out of Moses.

Consider: 2) Paul was detoured into learning. “I went into Arabia…then after three years I went up to Jerusalem” (Galatians 1:17,18). Those years were good for Paul, so that he might learn of Christ and be trained for service.

Consider: 3) Philip was detoured from many, to one. He went from winning multitudes, to winning one man, the Ethiopian eunuch; from a great revival to a singular witnessing experience. This story shows the Lord’s estimation of the value of one soul.

Consider: 4) Enoch and Elijah were detoured into heaven (Genesis 5:24, II Kings 2:11).

Is today the day we will experience an unexpected and seeming inconvenient and direction changing experience in our lives? If so, remember that God sometimes gives us detours for us to grow and be strengthened for work in His Kingdom.

by John Grant
Used by Permission

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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney

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