“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.” ~Exodus 13:17-18 NLT
I’d like to share a transparent moment with you. On yesterday, I looked back over my life and began to say to myself, “I should be further along than I am.” I began to beat myself up for some of the stupid and immature decisions that I made early in my life. In my mind I was saying, “If I had only gone THIS way instead of THAT way, things would be different for me…” I felt as if my personal ministry should be further along; I felt as if I should be making more money than I’m currently making. I was upset with myself for a little while. But this morning, I heard the word “detour” in my spirit. I then looked it up in the scriptures and I saw Exodus 13. I won’t get into all of the details surrounding that scripture because it’s a bit lengthy. But I was able to recognize that even though I chose the wrong paths sometimes, it was clearly the will of God for me to be where I am today. And that’s where I want to speak to you from today.
The word detour is defined as a roundabout way or course, especially one used temporarily when the main route is closed. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, logically, it would have made more sense to go by the way of the Philistines to get where they wanted to be, however, God took them another route. He caused a detour. It took much longer than it would’ve taken had they gone “the easy way.” Now I know why I had that little battle yesterday. The Lord wanted me to know that He is yet in control. No matter how WE feel our destiny should be, it is HE that controls our life and our destiny is in His hands. We must learn to TRUST Him in our detours! The way God leads us may not make sense to us, but He has His reasons for each and every detour. And because we know that God is good, we can therefore trust that His every reason for these detours is equally good.
It may take you longer than you expected to get to your Promised Land, but know that every one of your steps has been designed and already walked out by God. You may not know the way, but He knows! Job 23:10 says “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” And the way that we take can sometimes detour. It’ll place you on an entirely different path. This place is unfamiliar. This place is not normal. This place we’re not used to. And that’s the point! God wants you to stop looking at what is considered to be ‘normal.’ He wants you to trust Him even in the unfamiliar. He detoured you on purpose! He allowed this discomfort that you feel. The question is, will you yet trust Him? God will close the main route so that you will have to totally depend on Him.
So, every time you begin to feel like you should be further along in life; or you begin to feel down because you feel that it’s taking too long for you to reach your destined place, remember that He is still in control of your life. He allowed these detours to happen. And there’s even better news! 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Message Bible version says “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him.” God is looking out for you in your home; on your job; in your church; wherever you are in your life, He’s there! His eye is always on you, even in your detour!
I believe that God allowed me to experience this so that I would be able to encourage your hearts. Take courage. Whatever road you’re on, know that it’s ordained of God and He will NOT leave you! He won’t let you crash and burn. It’s not what you expected. It’s not “the main road” but He is yet looking out for His people. Isaiah 42:16 says “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
I’ll leave you with a song by Lashun Pace that has ministered to me for many years:
“If I were in control of my life, I think that I would have worked things out differently. There would be no hurt, no pain, no disappointment; of these things, my life would be scott free. But, that just goes to show how little I know about leading…about controlling my life; for you see, all these things have worked together just to make the best of me. God controls my life and my times are in His hands. And I’m learning each and every day to trust Him, come what may. If I were in control of my life, I know that I would have worked things out much differently. But, my times….are in His hands.”
He’s still God…even in the detours.
Until next week…..