October 22, 2013 by Beth Hess
I’ve never really liked math. (Surprise, I’m more of a words girl.) But I appreciate the dependability of the subject. Its repeatability. Its black-and-whiteness. Its ability to follow the rules for a predictable outcome.
Regardless of emotion or season or the weather, math concepts have been proven over and over again. The same yesterday, today, and always.
I’ve lived most of my life looking for predictable formulas as tried and true as 1+1=2. And every time I hear another express how life has not turned out “like it was supposed to,” I notice again that all the ways we try to control outcomes are just illusions.
Because sometimes hard work plus a good college equals a great job. And sometimes it just equals debt and more purpose searching.
Because with one child lots of praise plus positive extracurricular activities equals high grades. And for another it just equals being busy and distracted.
We make a “safe” investment and the bottom of the market falls out. We save “for a rainy day” only to find the storm lasts longer than our resources. We love people with all our hearts, and they leave anyway. We pray and move forward with faith only to be met with a roadblock.
We lament and we whine and we seriously consider turning back instead of dealing with a change in our plans. We snub our noses at God’s provision when it comes in a form we don’t understand. We form golden calves when He seems to linger. We turn a journey of 40 days into 40 years. We fear the giants more than we believe the promise.
And we keep trying to get back on the path we think we’re supposed to be on. To end the detour. To do things the “right way.”
But I think Detour is a human word, not a God word.
Because God is never surprised by what happens. He’s not caught off guard when 1+1=3. He ALWAYS knows the plan. He’s not contained by a formula.
“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
So if you feel like the formula of your life isn’t working out the way it’s supposed to. If everything you’ve tried doesn’t seem to be making a difference. If the path is rough and rocky and full of roadblocks. If you aren’t even sure which direction to turn at the crossroads you’re facing. At least you can rest in the truth that all your steps are ordered exactly as they should be.
It’s not a detour. It’s all part of your destiny. Ultimately, it’s all grace.