Have you ever been driving on a road-trip and ran into detours? Often times these detours can wind us around roads we have never been on before. Some are scenic but often feel like they are taking us out of the way of our destination. Detours are far from shortcuts. It really bothers my wife if it happens to her on a familiar road. For me however, I enjoy the exploratory opportunity to see new scenery. Although the added time can become a bummer if we are on a tight schedule to reach our destination. I’ve come to realize God has detours for us as well.
Detours Are Fun For the Whole Family
It doesn’t take much to upset the apple cart when traveling. We have taken several family vacations out west and use the opportunity to remind our kids what life was like before cell phones. We usually take a minivan, while not my preferred daily driver because it ranks –3 on the cool scale, it is the ONLY way to travel with 3 teenagers. The magical third seat can be a Godsend for a parent when the fighting ensues. I remember vividly, while driving through flat Kansas during tornado season, hearing shrieks from the girls in the backseat. I turned quickly to respond to them. “What’s the matter?” I asked, thinking they were having Wizard of Oz flashbacks. In a panic they answered, “We don’t have cell service!”. I knew right then and there it would be a long trip.
God Is My Crock-pot
We are a microwave generation that finds it difficult to understand God’s slow cooker methods. I heard a Pastor recently say that God is like a crock-pot. He is slowly cooking us, making sure all the flavor is locked in. But this isn’t fast enough for us. We want to get to our destiny NOW. We were born ready!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
When God takes me on a detour I feel like my kids did. What?!? Let me get this straight, not only will it take me longer to get to my destination, but I am going to be inconvenienced as well? Here is something to reflect on, the Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. It is widely believed that Joseph was in Egypt 22 years before he saw his brothers again.
The story of Joseph is a great illustration of how God uses detours to bring us to a destination. For Joseph it all started with a colorful coat that his father gave him. If it weren’t for the coat, his brothers wouldn’t have thrown him into the empty well. He was sold into slavery directly from the well. Then sold to Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape and he went to jail. In jail he interpreted a couple of dreams, his reward was being forgotten about. Thus far you can connect the dots in your own life and wonder why God has not brought you into your own Promised Land. You have prayed, you have believed, you have even sung some songs. But the story is far from over.
One of my favorite parts of Joseph’s story is his ascent to Pharaoh’s palace. I can’t imagine the overwhelming rush of emotions. Feeling like a minor league pitcher being called up to the major leagues. After 22 years, God had appointed the time as NOW for Joseph. He was bathed, he was cleanly shaven and he brought new clothes. He interprets the dream. And with no resume in hand, no background check. Joseph is appointed 2nd in command of all of Egypt! When God flicks the switch, everything happens quickly. This same God can put you on a detour, and do the same for you. For Joseph, it all started with a dream.
What’s your dream?