God’s Design in Detours

I read a great devotion yesterday that really struck a chord with me. When you’re in the midst of a period of life full of trials it’s often easy to use that as the lens through which you view and interpret almost everything. I try not to let the last 2 years affect my view of
the world but it’s almost impossible not to and sometimes it’s really helpful to apply a certain sermon, verse, or devotion directly to this season in our life. John Piper really spoke to me through this devotion.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Have you ever wondered what God is doing while you are looking in the wrong place for something you lost and needed very badly? He knows exactly where it is, and he is letting you look in the wrong place.

I once needed a quote for a new edition of my book Desiring God. I knew I had read it in Richard Wurmbrand. I thought it was in his devotional book, Reaching Toward the Heights. I could almost see it on the right hand side of the facing pages. But I couldn’t find it.

But while I was looking, I was riveted on one page, the devotional for November 30. As I read it, I said, “This is one of the reasons I have had to keep looking for my quote.” Here was a story, not for me, but for parents of broken children.

Having broken children is like looking in the wrong place for what you have lost and cannot find. Why? Why? Why? This was the unplanned reward of “wasted” moments.

In a home for retarded children, Catherine was nurtured twenty years. The child had been [mentally handicapped] from the beginning and had never spoken a word, but only vegetated. She either gazed quietly at the walls or made distorted movements. To eat, to drink, to sleep, were her whole life. She seemed not to participate at all in what happened around her. A leg had to be amputated. The staff wished Cathy well and hoped that the Lord would soon take her to Himself.

One day the doctor called the director to come quickly. Catherine was dying. When both entered the room, they could not believe their senses. Catherine was singing Christian hymns she had heard and had picked up, just those suitable for death beds. She repeated over and over again the German song, “Where does the soul find its fatherland, its rest?” She sang for half an hour with transfigured face, then she passed away quietly. (Taken from The Best Is Still to Come, Wuppertal: Sonne und Shild)

Is anything that is done in the name of Christ really wasted?

My frustrated, futile search for what I thought I needed was not wasted. Singing to this disabled child was not wasted. And your agonizing, unplanned detour is not a waste — not if you look to the Lord for his unexpected work, and do what you must do in his name (Colossians 3:17). The Lord works for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).

This detour in my life is not a waste. In fact, as agonizing as it is to wait and wait and wait for a pregnancy that will make it out of the first trimester, God has shown me that blessings can come out of even the most painful experiences. If I had never experienced loss (and may very well continue to experience) how would I ever be able to see that the gain is something he has gifted me? So as I continue to take the detour from my carefully planned life, as I travel down this road of complete faith and trust I can know that whatever I find at the end is a gift from him. And the process to get there is a way for me to grow in immeasurable ways.

2 responses to “God’s Design in Detours

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