Friday, September 14, 2012

Detours & Slow-Moving Carriages

"As for God, His way is perfect..."
Psalm 18:30

Over the years,
I have accumulated several decorative items that have the word
on them.
When I look at them,
they constantly remind me to slow down.
To take a deep breath.
To make things as simple as possible.
To condense things....
into smaller bites....
and easier-to-manage blocks.
To get rid of the excess.
To focus on what is most important.
To search for and discover the most simple and peace-filled route....
to wherever I am going.

 The other day, when we had to take a detour
due to the 18-wheeler collision,
I didn't complain.
I thanked God over and over
for not allowing us to be involved in what looked like a very serious accident.

I decided God wanted us on that alternate road.
He obviously had something to show us...
something He wanted us to see.
Something we would have missed...
had we stayed on our original route.

So, I began to search for it.

I opened my mind to His will.

We found the detour to be a very pleasant, scenic route.
It was winding and way off the main road,
and it gave us a closer view of the Tennessee mountains I love so much.
Their beauty fills my senses with a great sense of peace.

To me, the detour was a great reason to rejoice....
to thank God for sparing our lives...
to praise Him for His protection and His ever-faithful providential care.
And to give Him honor for allowing us to see the beauty that was all around us.
There were parts of it that we would have missed on the other route.

On the detour, we found ourselves following behind several other vehicles
who had the same idea and had taken the same route.
Soon, it became evident that the cars in front of us were
slowing down to a crawl.

Now what??
Another delay?

We followed on at a snail's pace for what seemed like a long time.
Then, we noticed some of the vehicles were beginning to pass other cars in front of us.
They were in such a hurry.

After several of them did this, we crept closer to the culprit,
and we could see the cause of the slow-moving traffic.
It was none other than three horse-drawn carriages,
definitely not in a hurry,
enjoying a leisurely afternoon ride.

They seemed so calm and didn't seem in the least bothered that they
had been the cause of backed-up traffic.
They were living life simply...
in the slow lane....
taking their time...
and bothered by nothing.

After a little while, they turned off the road,
and we saw them no more.
I wasn't disturbed by the fact they had slowed us down.
I was thankful they caused a delay....
so I could look at everything closer...
take it all in....
and let the serenity of the mountains soothe my soul.

There are two ways to look at a detour and a slow-moving carriage.
They can either be viewed as an aggravation and cause for frustration,
or we can search for and find the solace they provide.
They allow us to take a moment to pause...
catch our breath....
and slow down.
To live life simply...
at least for the moment.

What would we have missed seeing had we stayed on the first road?
What beauty would have passed us by had we traveled at normal speed on the second road?

I decided it was well worth it all to see what we saw.
To experience what we were privileged to enjoy.

I wonder how many people who live on that second road
pause and stop to really look at those mountains every day?
How many times do they turn their faces Heavenward to thank God for allowing them to
be so near His presence...
His majesty....
manifested in such a real, profound way...
in those mountains.

Life is a lot like our experience with the detour.
We feel empowered and in control, and we put in place such carefully-laid plans.
We print out our life's map the way we deem best and most appropriate.
Then God allows a curve ball to come our way.
An unexpected event that forces us to change course.
He leads us down a completely unfamiliar path...
that is untested...
and untried...
by us

As we walk the path, we are continually reminded
that the path is not unfamiliar to Him...
that Jesus is the One Who blazed the trail...
and He is walking with us each step of the way.

Along the way,
there are beauties rare...
quiet, peaceful moments...
alone with Him.
He sets the pace...
as He sees best.
The things we see as unnecessary delays,
are chock full of hidden joys,
golden spiritual nuggets,
and a closer look....
at Him...
and the things we love most.

I'm really thankful for the detour we followed the other day.
I wouldn't trade those memories.
I didn't mind going slow...
or arriving later than we planned.
I was so grateful to have arrived at all.

God knows best.
In every detail of our lives.
He absolutely has the best plan for each of us.

Sometimes detours are the best routes of all.

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