“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Well, my family is moving. We have been asked by our present landlords to vacate the premises by September 1. We are leaving not because of anything we’ve done, but due to the needs of the owners and their extended family, which makes this difficult. Our youngest, Joshua, said (while in the car yesterday) that he likes our house. I like our house. I like our neighbors. I don’t look forward to packing or moving, but we must.
Whether it is moving or layoffs or personal loss, life is full of detours. We usually choose a path, a course for our lives, and we run in that direction with little thought of change. It is only when the big orange sign or the flashing lights appear, telling us the path is blocked and a change of course is required, that we adjust our patterns. Most of us don’t like detours, partly because they are forcing us into unfamiliar territory and partly because they are causing us to change our path and alter our course.
When we come upon these detours we typically say two things: first, “what’s this?” and then, “where do I need to go?” Sometimes we are detoured to avoid danger – a downed power-line or a washed-out road – and sometimes we are detoured for preventative maintenance – bridgework or repaving. When we ask what necessitates this course correction, we begin to recognize the wisdom of the detour (whether it is to prevent risk or provide repair). When we adjust our familiar travel pattern toward unfamiliar ones, we begin to notice important aspects of the journey (whether they are directional signs or desirable sights).
God has laid out a detour for my family. It remains to be seen whether this is to avoid danger or to provide needed maintenance. Either way, we will submit to (‘place ourselves under the authority of’) Him. He knows best because He, after all, has ordered our steps. He will direct our path and make it straight. I cannot answer where we are going, for I don’t know – it is beyond my understanding. But I will keep an eye out to be sure that I don’t miss any important signs along our new course.
I know that some of those reading this been called to a detour just like my family has: a daughter has married and is moving many miles away; a husband has gone onto glory and left you to navigate life alone; a prerequisite for your schooling wasn’t acquired; a company has been effected by the economy and your job is a casualty of the times; a grandson is born and suddenly your child has a child. At times of detour, do we trust what we think we know or do we trust the DPW and their helpful directions? In the course of life, should we trust our own understanding or the author and perfecter of our faith?
So, if you happen to know of a three-bedroom available in South Dorchester, let me know. I’ll be the guy parked on the side of an unfamiliar roadway looking for the next big orange sign.