Unexpected Stops and Delays
Several weeks ago, my daughters and I drove to my parents’ house for the weekend. My mom needed some strawberries so we stopped at a grocery store on the way. In order to get back onto the highway, we had to turn right while on an incline with a building to our left. There was another vehicle approaching so I waited until they had passed to turn. My children thought it was hysterical when the car behind me started beeping their horn as they did not feel I was moving fast enough.
From their position behind me further down the incline with a view obscured by the building to the left, they could not see the approaching vehicle for which I was waiting. From my viewpoint, it was not yet safe to proceed so I waited. Once it was deemed safe, I turned right and re-entered the ramp to merge back into highway traffic.
I initially laughed at the impatience and lack of insight by the car behind. But then I was convicted and couldn’t help but wonder how many times I’ve beeped my horn at God when I didn’t think He was moving fast enough. Often from my limited human viewpoint, it seems we should immediately turn right and enter the highway to get to our destination without delay. I think I know both the destination and the best way. “God, the highway is right there and it’s a direct route to our destination.” But if you’ve been a believer for long, you know God doesn’t work that way.
In fact, Jesus had many delays in His travels. He once walked out of His way to meet a woman at a well. At that time, Jews did not visit Samaria and they certainly didn’t speak to Samaritan women. Like me, the disciples got off their exit and entered into town to get some food.
I’m pretty sure they wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. But Jesus had other plans. He planned one conversation with one woman that would change the lives of a whole region. If the woman at the well had been impatient, she would have missed the message that radically changed her life. I can only imagine the disciples watching from the perimeter and beeping their horns to get out of Samaria as quickly as possible.
Another time, Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus, a synagogue ruler, when a woman touched His garment. To Jairus and the disciples, time was of the essence. Jesus could have kept walking focused on the mission… but He didn’t. He had a different mission in mind first. The disciples and Jairus likely wanted to beep their horn to get Jesus moving to quickly continue on their journey when He stopped to look around in the crowd. Jesus took the time to heal the woman and He called her “Daughter”. Did you know that? We were never told her name but when Jesus calls you daughter, no other name matters. I’m so glad He is never too busy or in too much of a hurry to tend to our spiritual safety.
Meanwhile, news came that Jairus’ daughter had already died before Jesus got there. I can certainly relate to Jairus’ fear they were too late and I bet you can too. But Jesus knew there was no such thing as too late, only right on time.
Have you ever asked God to save something? When we pray these types of prayers, we don’t like waiting. As time goes on, it may feel like God is never going to come through. “God, why aren’t you moving?” we may ask.
We have all been in a position of waiting for something in this wacky year of 2020. I know I have personally felt like stomping my feet and beeping my horn for this season to turn right and hit the highway! Yet here we are, waiting.
God in His infinite wisdom can see all things. He has a unique perspective we can never fully grasp as humans. He can see all potential traffic, barriers, approaching obstacles, dangers, and distractions. Often we are impatient, beeping the horn while sitting on an uncomfortable slope facing delays for reasons our limited human perspective cannot fathom. But God sees them all. He sees the approaching danger that could disrupt our travels and prevent us from reaching our destination and He makes us wait a little longer than we want to. He often redirects or detours us to an unexpected destination either along the way or as the ultimate destination. We may never know on this side of eternity who He chose to stop to heal and rename “Daughter” along the way.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV
That day at the stop sign, I paused to allow the oncoming car to pass, safely turned right and entered the highway. I arrived safely at my destination at exactly the right time. I cannot be sure about the driver behind me but I can assure you the world did not end that day.
I still don’t like waiting. But I’ve come to realize delays always have a purpose for reasons that only God can see from his all knowing perspective. My view is often blocked by the sloped terrain I’m standing on or the failure to see around obstacles as only He can.
I pray when we are feeling impatient we can avoid sounding our horn and trust in God’s protection knowing He works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). May we walk with Jesus, pausing when He pauses, knowing His purposes will be fulfilled at exactly the right time.
Subscribe to Straighten Your Crown’s email list to receive email updates for new blog posts or newsletters twice per month. We promise never to spam you and only deliver relevant content directly to your inbox so you don’t miss a thing.
Loved this, Heather! And you are right about the longer we are believers the better we understand that God does not take direct paths – there are always divine detours and delays on the way to our destination. I have come to expect the unexpected!
You hit the nail on one of my favorite pieces of advice: expect the unexpected! Divine detours make perfect sense to God.
This is what I needed to heart. WELL SAID!!
It’s what I needed myself. Funny how He does that.
My friend, Barbara introduced me to your blog, and I am so thankful! Your writings are God sent.
Alesia, wow! Thank you so much. I definitely could not do it on my own.