Stop Signs, Roadblocks and Detours

When we first moved to San Diego we obviously had to find a place to live. We stayed with friends during that time and they watched our oldest while we ventured out into our new city full of expectation and excitement. We had our map of San Diego and surrounding areas, as it was well before the days of GPS.

We had lists provided by the base housing office of places that would rent to military personnel. We were set. We got to the right area of the city, the right street and BAM! The street ended and a canyon was where the street should have been. In the distance you could see the beginning of the rest of the street. This could have been a one-off, but no we managed to have potential homes on each street that butted up against a canyon.

Needless to say our frustration levels were high, until it began to be funny. A street filled with houses and you went down them and then there would be a barrier with a reflecting sign on it. We found it funny why the barrier was there when the pavement ended and in front of you was grassy areas and huge trees blocking your way. Didn’t take a rocket scientist to know you couldn’t go any further.

We finally did find a house to rent, and yes, it actually was on a canyon. We learned that San Diego had canyons throughout the city, some pretty beautiful and some that were questionable.

Roadblocks show up in the most inconvenient places. Upon seeing them, we usually hear a deep sigh or a groan. No one likes to see roadblocks.

The same goes with stop signs. We notice how many are around when we are in a hurry to get somewhere. I was guilty of this when it was a season for me being ‘taxi mom’. By Friday evening I would be screaming at any stop sign or traffic light, unless of course, it was green.

Detours are similar to roadblocks, they appear right when you want to head in the direction they are blocking. Occasionally detours provide you with beauty you never would have experienced. Roads not traveled or thought of.

Many times we hear Jeremiah 29:11 quoted. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT) It’s a familiar scripture that gets repeated and repeated. Most of us can repeat it without much thought. Yes, God has a plan for us. Yes, it will give us a future and a hope. We say it like we slap a band-aid on a wound, like it is a cure all.

Sometimes we fail to realize that the plan, that future and that hope come after we hit roadblock after roadblock. That pathway is riddled with stop signs and red lights. That hope is after several detours.

Anyone who has taken a long road trip knows that the destination sometimes takes longer to arrive to. Things are in the way.

If life could be like those mazes on children’s menus, it would be great. You start at the beginning and trace your way to the end. If you can’t figure it out right away you turn the menu around and start from the end and go backwards. Somehow turning the page around allows you to see the path with no lines blocking your crayon.

Life is not so simple. We can’t go to the end and figure it all out. Until then, we follow the signs, trying not to zig when we need to zag. We were given a map more detailed than GPS. Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (NLT)

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