Yesterday morning, I left the house early in hopes of getting my errands done before lunch and, with that done, to be able to go about the rest of my day. As I typically do, I decided to take the back roads to avoid traffic. (I don't know about you, but traffic does not bring out the best in me.) Sadly, within two minutes of my drive, I came upon a road sign saying that the road ahead was closed at the railroad tracks. With no place to turn around, I thought,
Okay, no big deal. I'll turn at the road just before the tracks and head down the road where it actually goes underneath the tracks. Problem solved.
Never, ever say or think that!
I took the road under the tracks which brought me out right in front of the street I wanted to go down. Guess what? Yep, another sign. It would seem that the road ahead was closed at that set of tracks as well. Good grief! No problem. I would simply go down to the next road and turn there. That worked until I arrived at the next intersection where I encountered another detour/road closed sign. "You've got to be kidding me!" I exclaimed in aggravation. To be honest, I was running out of ideas of how to get to my desired destination and was seriously contemplating turning around and going home. This was just too much work!
After a few more turns, twists and recalculations, I finally arrived at my first destination. To say I was frazzled would be an understatement. I finished my errands as quickly as possible, then sat in the car for a moment to see if I could remember which route I took so that I could get home without all the extra twists and turns. With my plan in place, I headed toward home and was actually in my neighborhood when I spotted it. . .well, actually, I should say them. At first, I noticed the ambulance and police car, but they were both pulled over to the side of the road, so I figured I could just go around them. But as I swerved a little to see around, I noticed another stupid, orange road sign, this one bearing the words, "Road Closed Ahead." That did it! The camel's back was broken, and this little, fiery redhead was indeed fiery. After another unscheduled detour, I finally arrived safe and sound at my beloved home. And might I say, I haven't left the house since then!!!!
Doesn't life sometimes seem to treat us the same way? We set off for an intended destination. We have a plan. We have the right motives. We're doing a good thing. Then, out of nowhere, we see the sign, "Road Closed. Detour Ahead." At first, it's an annoyance, but not much else. We cope. We work around it. We find another way to reach our desired end. But then, there's another detour and another one and another one. Pretty soon, we find ourselves sitting on the floor and wondering if we'll ever reach our destination or if we really even want to anymore.
Let's face it, life can be quite frustrating from time to time. When things are humming along smoothly, we're good, but when life starts throwing those detours in our paths, we're anything but good. We're aggravated. We're confused. We're discouraged. And we find ourselves wondering if it's really worth it. May I offer you three suggestions?
1) Pray. -- It could be that God is placing the detours in our lives to set us on a different path. If we're encountering detour after detour, our first order of business ought to be to seek the Lord's will and direction for our lives. Before we do anything else, we need to know if these detours are new directions for our lives. If they are, then God will reveal what changes He wants us to make. If they are not "signs from God," continue on to #2.
2) Don't give up. -- Yesterday, I was tempted to forget about the errands and go home. My frustration got the best of me and encouraged me to quit. But if we quit every time we come across a stumbling block, we'll never reach our spiritual "pot of gold." God has great plans for each of us, but we'll never see those plans realized if we give up at every turn. Keep going.
3) Encourage yourself in the Lord. -- Yes, road closures and detours are a huge pain in the. . . well, you know. However, the primary purpose for such things is so that improvements can be made. The multiple road closures I faced yesterday were the result of repairs on the railroad tracks. The tracks were being made better, safer and more functional. So while, yes, detours are a hassle, aren't you glad that someone is looking out for your well-being by ensuring that the roads and railroad tracks are safe? God is doing the same thing. If He is allowing roadblocks in our lives, it could be that He is working to improve a particular area of our lives that needs some work. Instead of complaining about the inconvenience, we ought to be thankful that God loves us enough to help us be the very best that we can be.
What roadblocks are you facing today?
Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. - Psalm 143:10