A detour is an unplanned, often unexpected, shift in the route we were taking to get where we were trying to go.
When we get in our cars, we do so with a destination in mind. We plan to go somewhere. We typically know how we plan to get there, which highway we are going to take—even which streets we are going to turn onto in order to arrive at our destination.
And if we don’t, we at least type in the destination address into our smartphone app and rely on an automated voice to guide us every step of the way.
Whether we are following our own mental map or the one in our phone, sometimes we run into a detour—some closed end that requires us to make a U-turn or go down a path we had not previously expected.
I don’t know about you, but I like to get to where I am going without any detours. When I take a long road trip with the family, I won’t even stop for normal things like food and bathroom breaks, unless my family insists, so you can imagine how I feel about a detour. It’s not good. I sigh. I moan. I wonder why on earth did this have to happen to me right now.
Have you ever done something similar? You can admit it, too.
Few of us like to be stalled for any reason, even if it’s just someone cutting us off in traffic and forcing us to slow down. But detours are necessary if any improvement is going to be made on the paths we travel or if any wreck is going to be cleaned up or hazard avoided. Detours are designed for our own good, regardless of how we view or feel about them.
They are a good thing that often feels bad.
Divinely designed detours in our lives are also positive interruptions designed to divert us to a better path so that we might have the opportunity to reach our destination well. What’s more, they often provide the development we need in order to reach our destiny. How we view our detours will often determine how useful they wind up being, which is why we are going to spend the next few weeks examining the purpose, power, and perfection of the detours God both uses and allows in our lives.