The Detour

Detours—those dark canyons or wonderful vistas, challenges our faith. It’s like when the day finally arrives for a long awaited road-trip. Nothing is left to chance. Reservations are confirmed. Travel routes to historical landmarks are gone over one last time. Everything is perfect until down the road a large, orange sign with black lettering looms ahead that reads Detour—directing traffic to go in the opposite direction! The way is narrow, winding, bumpy and endless. But after another bend in the road, a lake appears surrounded by lush trees and sandy shores. Next to it is a bronze-marker and reader board describing historical facts about the area. This unexpected, restful place, unmarked on the map, resulted from the detour.
The old movie, To Sir With Love, further illustrates how the dark canyons can ultimately change to wonderful vistas. Sidney Poitier stars as an unemployed engineer in London, England. While waiting to hear from an engineering company, he learns of a teaching opportunity in one of London’s low-income high schools. “How hard can this be?” he wonders. He applies and is hired on the spot. But the senior students are unruly, and would rather fight than read stuffy English books. Poitier realizes diagramming sentences is not what these kids need. He put away the books and begins introducing a world of possibilities that the students never knew existed for them. By graduation both the students and Poitier are changed. When his job offer arrives, he tears it up smiling, thinking how his career had taken an incredible detour.
These two stories resolve with wonderful vistas of happy endings. But what about those of us who are in the quandary of hurting and struggling on a course that seems impossible, without any relief in sight?
Max Lucado in his book, It’s Not About Me, encourages us that detours are not forever, but moments in time. “We can be sick for just a moment. We can be lonely for just a moment. We can be persecuted for just a moment. We can struggle for just a moment.” Compared to the peace and joy of eternity we can endure the brevities of life—the detours—whether or not we understand them. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) reads, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. . .”
For those of us waiting for the vistas, take heart. Remember the front of a masterpiece tapestry is not displayed until all the knots and twisted threads are tied and clipped on the back. And when our traveling, careers, or other circumstances get turned upside down, belonging to Christ means we are assured He has every detail (or knots) under control—even when we can’t comprehend the “why.” We can trust His promise that some day our disruptive detour(s) will end to reveal a breath-taking vista that far exceeds our expectations or imaginations.