• Detours

    Yesterday morning Wibke and I were driving through the Virginia countryside having chosen to take a back road for a few hours on our journey to Pennsylvania. We were glad we did. There were miles and miles of rolling hills, green fields and tight winding roads that reminded us so much of the German countryside. It was a precious few hours…
    About fifteen minutes after we’d ceased reminiscing Jordan piped up: “Wow, this reminds me so much of Germany! Its beautiful. Maybe I’ll take a scholarship to Virginia. It’s not so boring!” Wibke and I laughed. Jordan wants to be a sports star when he’s older – he just can’t work out which sport!
    “This is really pretty”, he concluded.
    Until that moment, Jordan had been sitting in the back of the car with his headphones over his ears watching a movie. He was so engrossed in his movie that he was silent for most of the trip – until the landscape caught his attention. A road trip became even more idyllic because we planned a detour that just happened to bring back precious memories of yesteryear for us all!

    Last Sunday we started a series from 1st Kings 19 where Elijah takes a 250 mile detour only to be told to travel 150 miles more to get Elisha. That detour not only brought back memories of God’s faithfulness but ushered in a new season for that troubled prophet and the nations.
    I’m not a fan of detours. I much prefer going the most direct route to any destination. Ask Wibke and she will tell you that this thousand plus mile trip was the most relaxing of any we have done. That, of course, may have something to do with the fact that we took one child with us rather than four! Yesterday, however, I experienced first hand the benefit of willingly embracing a detour. I guess I was more open to the detour because of last week’s message. I’m glad I embraced it because this detour awakened my senses, freshened my memory and cultivated a heart of appreciation for God’s faithfulness. Yes, a detour means that it will take me a little longer to get where I am going. Fact is, the future I’m now enjoying never happened by me following a straight line. There were lots of moments where God surprised me by doing something left field.
    The truth is, the best things in life are hardly ever predictable. Great things often appear by ‘planned happenstance’ where God somehow grabs our attention at a moment we least expect – often while we travel along a path of our choosing.
    That is what happened to Elijah in 1st Kings 19. Verse 3 tells us that he literally “ran for his life.” He planned to leave and headed out on his detour in fear. It was in this dark moment on the road of his choosing that the Lord suddenly appeared and ‘behold’ this troubled saint was refreshed and strengthened.
    I love the word ‘behold’ – it is the planned happenstance word of all the Scriptures! It is a word that reminds us that while we plan our steps the Lord ordains our path by interrupting us at the moment we least expect Him to.
    Wibke and I didn’t know what we’d find in the Virginia countryside (sorry for our ignorance!) but when the GPS gave us our options we planned to take the detour. The rest was a wonderful surprise!
    Be encouraged to live this week embracing whatever comes your way – detours and all! Pray before you plan and keep your eyes open and your heart alert as you walk the path before you. Remember one lesson from last Sunday: “great things rarely happen as we expect.“

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