Detours & Delays

This past weekend was absolutely beautiful and a perfect time to head up to North Carolina to visit my folks. Though our trips are always a nice change of pace from the normal routine of work and homeschooling and also an opportunity to spend more time with my mom and dad, this trip we also went to tackle some big projects.

Lowering the Old Boat

One of the main tasks slated for the visit was to go to their lake property (located in an adjacent county) to move an old, non-working ski boat out of their boat house and transport it back to their home so it can be donated to charity… a process that required two 4 wheel drive vehicles, a second boat, 6 able bodies, at least 4 licensed drivers and access to a near-by takeout point on the lake. Believing that all the pieces were in place, we embarked on the mission… that is, until we got to the lake. The take out point we intended to use (and had used on and off for over four decades) is located three lots down, but on private property. A group of 20-somethings were using their parent’s lake house for the day and denied us access. No matter how persuasive we tried to be, they wouldn’t budge!

The Tow Across the Lake

This seemingly insensitive action on the part of our neighbors caused an unexpected complication, creating an unplanned delay in our well laid out schedule. I mean, since all our ‘helpers’ were from out of town, we only had one day to accomplish the task, and the clock was running…. So, instead of using the ramp that was walking distance from my parent’s place, my brother, Bryan and my husband, Clif, were forced to drive 30 minutes to the other side of the lake to beg for use of the ramp at a local private boating club. After a reluctant and very conditional ‘yes’ from the manager, they drove back to the house to get the second boat, returned to the boat club and put it in the water so Bryan could pilot the boat to our pier and tow our old girl back across High Rock Lake one last time.

Pulling the Old Boat Out at the Boat Club

Once the non-working boat was lowered into the water (with its trailer strapped to the underside), the trip back across to the boat club only took a few minutes.  Feeling a bit like trespassers at a garden party, we quickly hooked the trailers up and pulled both boats back to the other side off the lake, 30 minutes away. In our minds, this convoluted ordeal could have been so much easier if only our neighbors had been a little more…. well, uh… neighborly!

Missing Lug Nuts on the Trailer Tire

But my opinion about that all changed when we heard an unusual noise as the second boat was pulled into the driveway. A quick survey of the trailer revealed a narrowly avoided disaster. All five of the lug nuts for the left side wheel rim had jiggled loose and fallen off, leaving the tire precariously dancing on the hub for who knows how many miles! Just use your imagination to come up with the catastrophes that could have happened if we had attempted to pull that trailer back to their home on the interstate at highway speeds! Once this realization sank in a little, and as Clif and Bryan fumed over how to fix the mess, I was suddenly grateful for the neighbor’s stubborn unwillingness to let us use their ramp. I’m convinced the shorter trip back from the boat club gave us time to catch the problem with the wheel and correct it before we made the longer trip home.

You know, the lesson believers can all learn from this is that we need to cultivate the ability to look beyond our immediate disappointments and trust that God often has something bigger in mind. He doesn’t send detours just to disappoint us or cause us to waste time. His interruptions to our thoughtfully planned routes are often designed for our safety, and so with a protective purpose in mind, He sometimes frustrates our plans in order to send us around a potential threat. Not perceiving that the hand of God might be involved, we quickly become irritated and disappointed over the delay without ever considering the roadblock might be His safeguard in disguise and an expression of His deep love and concern for us.

The Apostle Paul understood this concept when he wrote to the Philippian church giving his unusual perspective on his prison sentence. “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Phil 1:12-14)

Though it almost certainly wasn’t what he’d planned, Paul looked a little deeper and saw two benefits to his captivity. Firstly, he was able to share the truth of the Gospel with the soldiers who were guarding him. Secondly, as he was prevented from visiting the churches to teach in person, new leaders stepped up to preach in his absence, developing the next wave of elders to pass the faith along. Prison was a detour, even a disappointment and maybe even frustrating for Paul, but instead of derailing his task, it ended up being an unexpected avenue to advance God’s goal.

The same is probably true of many of our heart breaks and setbacks. But when we allow ourselves to get so caught up in the emotional trauma of unexpected circumstances, we are unable to see clearly enough to realize that there is often something more complex working behind the scenes and we miss the fact that a better – and more beneficial- plan might actually be unfolding before us that will help us get home safely after all.

Safely Arrived at Home

As for God, His way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
He shields all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

18 thoughts on “Detours & Delays

  1. Leslie says:

    This was a great story that is a good reminder of how God protects us. It’s such wise thing to look around us and see how He’s taking care of us when things don’t go as planned. Thanks for this reminder today!

  2. MEL THOMPSON says:

    What a great story to read in relating to God’s plans and not our own even when it entails getting a ‘boat out of a lake’. Paul goes even further in his letter to the church in Philippi when he says, “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you…both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” ~ Philippians 2:13. Don’t you just hate it when a brother/sister in Christ Jesus reminds us in our frustrations “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining…”? (Phil. 2:14)

  3. April Boyer says:

    The statement “we need to cultivate the ability to look beyond our immediate disappointments and trust that God often has something bigger in mind.” is so powerful! I use a smaller quote that repeats that in my greeting cards to shut ins. But I admit to failing in living it.
    Your illustration of ‘something bigger’ playing out is spot on. Thank you for telling this story!

  4. Laura Thomas says:

    Oh goodness, what a day! But such a great life lesson… sometimes we need to take a breath and trust God has it all under control, even when it seems like a nightmare at the time! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Your neighbour at #CoffeeForYourHeart

  5. Liz says:

    YES! We always need to “look beyond our immediate disappointments” and see what God is up to! Excellent advice! So thankful the crisis was averted!

    1. Karen says:

      Thanks for stopping by Liz. I think we all need more practice in focusing past what bothers or discourages us and look for God in and through even the most difficult things that come our way.

  6. Angela Pelleman says:

    That was a super cool story; and it was a perfect example of the boundaries God places before us. I was thinking that perhaps the neighbors were thinking of danger and His they would be responsible if something happened on their property… and in a way, that’s how our story ended. It also shows how God saying NO can also be a huge source of protection to us! I look forward to sharing your story in my Facebook page The Silver Lining, at Your story definitely had a silver lining! Whew! Nice read! God bless you!

    1. Karen says:

      I don’t know what the neighbors were thinking, but I just loved how God showed Himself as active in even what we would think of as just irritating frustrations! God is truly over all, through all and in all (Eph 4:6) And yes… please share this on your page! 🙂

  7. Tracey Cross says:

    Fantastic post – so enjoyed reading this story. Gods grace goes before us always and situations like these highlight that fact. Its a good lesson I need to be reminded of. To “cultivate the ability to look beyond our immediate disappointments and trust that God often has something bigger in mind.” Thats good truth I needed to hear it. Found your blog in front of mine at A Wise Woman Builds Her House Link Up. Love Link Ups !!! never would have read this great post otherwise. God bless and thank you.

    1. Karen says:

      I’m glad you stopped by too! We all need practice at seeing God’s perspective on our lives… the good & the bad.

  8. nylse says:

    We need to look beyond the present disappointment to see what God has in store. Thanks for this reminder.

    Your neighbor at #FreshMarketFriday

  9. Rachel Q says:

    We had a similar thing happen to us recently. We were suppose to go out of town to a funeral about an hour away. We headed down our driveway and around the corner when our car started making an awful noise. We turned around went back to the house to trade vehicles for the truck. Then we noticed our truck tire was low and so decided instead to just get back in the car and risk it with that.

    The whole ordeal took about 5 minutes. We felt a little annoyed but it was okay we weren’t going to be late.
    It wasn’t until about 30 minutes into our trip that we came across an accident that had just happened. Had we not gone back for our little excursion of switching vehicles we would have been in the middle of that accident. Cars had slid off the road in different directions because of black ice. It didn’t appear that there were injuries but had another car… (ours) been involved the circumstance could have been different.
    Whenever I am held back I always try to remember that God could be protecting me from an unforeseen incident that could bring injury or heartache.
    By the way when we got back in our car the second time the noise was no longer there. I just believe God was slowing us down enough to protect us.
    Thanks for this reminder. Blessings—Rachel (Your neighbor at #HeartEncouragement)

    1. Karen says:

      So glad you were not involved in that accident! It’s so important for us to learn to not only appreciate what God gives, but what He keeps us from as well. Thanks Rachel!

  10. Geneva Williams says:

    You pulled it all together and shared a wonderful message. One that applies to each of us.


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