When Life Takes a Detour

I don’t like detours. Whether embarking on the 700-mile drive to my hometown or making every last dish fit into one load in the dishwasher, the fastest, most efficient is my route of choice every time.

Real-life roadblocks are just as uncomfortable. I don’t think any of us like being stretched, challenged, or forced down uncharted territory. Like my favorite Jane Austen hero says, “I just want to stay here where it’s cozy.” (Mr. Knightly got it right on so many levels. But I digress . . . )

I bet you’ve noticed that God doesn’t always have you travel in the direction you’d choose for yourself. While I don’t know what you’re going through, I do know what it’s like to wish you were on a different path, to look at your life in frustration and wonder why it turned out so differently than you planned.

Jesus has not left your side for one moment!

When I find myself down a back road, a dead end . . . maybe even in a ditch, it doesn’t make sense and I often feel abandoned and lost. I look around and wonder where Jesus is. Do you ever feel lost, too?

No matter what you’re feeling in those hard moments—abandonment, betrayal, anger, despair—remember this: Jesus has not left your side for one moment! This side step is not a mistake. Your Father knows the whereabouts of every fluttering sparrow (Luke 12:6–7), so rest assured that He has not lost sight of you.

God Is with You

Throughout the Bible we find story after story of individuals whose lives take an unexpected turn from a human standpoint. But God isn’t taken by surprise. He has it under control every time.

  • Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused by his master’s wife, and unjustly left in prison for several years. But later in life when his brothers sought his forgiveness, Joseph assured them that what they had meant for evil God intended for good (Gen. 50:15–21).
  • Ruth’s life took a turn for the worse when she was left a young, childless widow in a foreign country, caring for her widowed mother-in-law. But what Ruth didn’t know was that out of the toil and sorrow there unfolded an unexpected story of love and grace. God orchestrated a plan to provide a husband for Ruth and, from her descendants, a future king for the nation of Israel (Ruth 4:13–17).
  • The disciples had big dreams of overthrowing the Romans and setting up a kingdom in Judea. All that came crashing down as they watched their beloved leader, Jesus, take His last breaths on a Roman cross. But even this devastating, unjust act was not a wrench in God’s plan—for it was His plan to send His Son to die for mankind and through it invite us into the kingdom of heaven.

In these and other examples from Scripture we see God’s hand leading and guiding His children. He never leaves us alone, and He always acts out of love. Whatever we have gone through and still have ahead of us, God is with us.

God Is Faithful

There’s a worship song by Matt Redman based on Lamentations 3:22–23 that calls us to look back and see all that God has lovingly done for us and how He has faithfully led us through it all.

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You and I can choose to trust God even while walking in a direction we don’t desire.

It may be awhile before your current circumstances change. Perhaps they never will. But we cannot spend our days longing for a different path, wondering when we’ll be done with the “scenic route” and can head back in the “right” direction. You and I can choose to trust God even while walking in a direction we don’t desire.

Are you on a lonely, seemingly-endless detour? Perhaps you’re weary from the strain, angered by the loss you’ve endured, or completely numb to it all out of self-preservation. Sweet girl, God is with you and God is faithful. He will never leave you on your own.

We may not appreciate the detour God has us on right now, but we can trust that God will stick with us even if we can’t see the purpose in it. Thankfully God’s plan is better than our plan, and because He is perfect and good, we can trust Him.

About Author

Leanna Shepard

Leanna began serving on staff with Revive Our Hearts in the summer of 2014. Though originally from Arkansas and now residing in Michigan, her citizenship is in heaven, having been adopted as daughter of the King at age ten. She loves a cup of hot tea with a good book, experimenting in the kitchen with a new recipe, and cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals.

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  • Liz Hall

    Thank you so much for posting this! My parents and I are moving back to North Carolina to be able to take care of and see my Grandparents more often. I was born here, and we’ve served as missionaries here my whole life, and most of my brothers’ lives! It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, but it will always ring true that the Lord is faithful.

    • Leanna Shepard

      Praying for you, Liz, as you make the transition back to NC. The Lord will be with you!

  • feelingfree

    Hi,
    My name is Anna. I am needing prayer and I recently moved back to NC around 10 months ago from California. It has been a hard and challenging move. Their have been a number of things I’m struggling with at this time. Finances, difficulty in relationships, unsure where God is directing me. Confused on why things have been so hard. I have been feeling depressed lately and its been due to disappointing circumstances. The list goes on.. Need encouragement.

    • Leanna Shepard

      Anna, I just prayed for you that God would provide you with comfort and peace during this time of transition. I asked that you would sense His presence and would share your troubles and fears with Him. He loves you and is leading you even when you don’t know where or understand why. Praying that you receive the encouragement you need today to find joy in the Lord.