They happen. They happen on roads, on hiking trails, and on the roads of life. What do you do when you encounter a detour? How do you deal with detours? Does it mess you up or are you able to go with the flow? If you're like me, it depends on the day and time (and whether or not I'm in a fairly connected mode with my power source).
Some detours are of our own making and happen because we want to be in control of our lives. These kinds of detours can be devastating to us personally and to those around us.
My friend Mark Davis wrote about detours as his word for the day in his report for Monday, October 4, 2010. Here are Mark's words on "detour":
"I don’t know ONE SINGLE PERSON who hasn’t taken a detour off of the path of right living, even though they were trying to live a faithful Christian life. And obviously, there are LOTS of people who are not Christians yet, and are off on the wrong path. And for a lot of them, it doesn’t take a Bible, or a preacher, or a pamphlet, or a TV show to figure it out.
More than one call tonight was about someone who was rebellious and left family or security or sensibility to go “do their own thing.” Two were young women who ran off and took up with a man (the term “man” being used loosely to describe age, and not maturity or integrity). What followed was some combination of shame, being degraded, failed relationships, financial ruin, depression, desperation, and thankfully longing for help or home or both.
Maybe you feel like you are on a DETOUR right now. You’re in a situation you shouldn’t be in, stuck, separated, in the middle of a mess or way off the path you envisioned for your life. You may have destructive people around you. You may be trapped, or at least feel like it. Maybe you’re suffering through an injustice.
And perhaps you have come to realize that the people you resented or that you were trying to get away from, to rebel against, like parents and family, have now become the object of your desire. At least you know (or hope) that they still care about you. Because the person or thing you have been off chasing has LET YOU DOWN.
Let me propose something to you …. That though you find yourself on a detour, God is on the detour with you. Maybe the “Good Shepherd,” who is Jesus himself, walked right into this unwanted situation with you … and now he is going to walk you right back out.
Really? Well, think about the 23rd Psalm. You know it. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want [meaning I shall not lack for anything]…” Down in verses 3 and 4 there is a seeming contradiction. It goes like this: “… he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…”
I interpret the “paths of righteousness” to mean the “right paths.” King David, the author of this Psalm, was a shepherd as a boy. Shepherds had to take the sheep on the “right paths” to get where they were going. A “wrong path” could lead to a dead end, to turning around and going back (try that with sheep!). A “wrong path” could also take too long in getting to the next green pasture or still water, thus creating panic or desperation in the hungry / thirsty sheep. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, knows how to lead us on the “right paths.”
BUT … if that is the case, why would we find ourselves going down a path called “the valley of the shadow of death,” as mentioned in verse 4? Surely this would not be a “right path” for any shepherd, much less the Good Shepherd, to take the sheep. Ahhh … but it could be the right path! And surely it is! It is the path you are on. And the Good Shepherd took you there!
I am not suggesting that Jesus decides sometimes to throw some bad stuff at us, just to keep us humble or something. No, not that. But what Jesus knows, not only as Lord and Savior, but from his personal earthly experience, is that you won’t get to the destination without several times of testing.
If you are in the desert right now, or stuck in a bad situation … it may seem like a detour to you, but the Shepherd knows what he’s doing and where he’s going. Jesus is the one leading you right through this “dark valley” headed for the “kingdom of light!” And Jesus is not afraid of the dark!
So, don’t be ashamed that you have made foolish mistakes to get where you are. Don’t give up hope, or think God doesn’t care. The Good Shepherd Jesus is in this dark valley with you, leading you to another green pasture and some still waters. Don’t give up. Instead, listen for his voice and FOLLOW IT! The dark valley is only temporary. The Good Shepherd is permanent." (Mark Davis, The Healing Touch Report, October 4th, 2010)
These are great encouraging words. As someone who has been on a "detour", these words resonated with me and I wanted to share them.
Whether these words are for you or for someone you know, may you be encouraged as you continue on the journey.
**You can listen to The Healing Touch NATIONAL CALL-IN RADIO SHOW which airs midnight to 2am (eastern) weeknights on XM-170 or you can catch it on http://www.healingtouchministries.com/. They also have a FaceBook page.