I excitedly prepared to head off for a conference in Grand Junction, Colorado, early the next morning. My confidence ebbed and flowed as I packed my car, ensuring everything I needed was secure within. I knew I could get from Edmond, Oklahoma, to Grand Junction in one day, but it would be a long travel day. At the last minute I was notified of an important Zoom meeting the next evening. I believed leaving two hours earlier at 5:30 a.m. would give me plenty of time to arrive, check into my hotel, and grab a bite to eat. I had a plan.
The next morning off I went with my lead foot and determination. I skipped stopping to eat to save extra time. Only gas stops through the Texas panhandle and southern Colorado could slow me down.
I was 30 minutes from my destination. I’m gonna make it I thought. I smiled at how well I had traveled. Then I noticed the construction cones and the construction worker holding up the STOP sign, motioning me to roll down my window.
The bridge was out for construction, and it wouldn’t open for another hour and a half. I would have to detour onto a small country road to circumvent it. After about two miles my Jeep began twisting, turning, and climbing. I finally passed a sign listing the miles to the next towns and my destination. This detour would take two extra hours! What?! I’m in the mountains without a short cut, without phone reception, and behind a grandma from Florida driving like she’s headed to Sunday brunch.
Frustration, weariness, and irritation surfaced. Plus, I wasn’t sure I had enough gas, and I needed to go to the bathroom. I began to complain about the delays, the slow cars, getting up so early, and the length of my drive.
Suddenly, I rounded the bend to a panoramic view of scenic vistas, cascading waterfalls, majestic mountains, and a serene lake. The higher I climbed, the better the landscape. It felt like I was on a jeeping trail, and it was stunning! I had to take my focus off what was hindering me to look at the breathtaking wonder of nature. I stopped complaining and began praising God for his handiwork. God took me on a detour that was simply breathtaking. I only had to slow down and enjoy it.
I felt God smile and whisper, “See what you would have missed.” He was so right. Detours are not always bad. They oftentimes have a purpose and a hidden blessing. Sometimes God takes us on detours for various reasons.
How many times have you had perfect plans only to have them interrupted by circumstances? Have you been on a journey when all of a sudden you detour to a totally different life experience? Did you discover the benefit or lesson? We don’t travel through life all willy-nilly at the whim of fate. Our journey has a beginning and an end ordained by our Creator who brings us surprises along the road.
I’ve learned to keep my eyes wide open because when things don’t go as planned, God may have a perfect reason or a beautiful experience for us.