“Here we go again,” I remember thinking.
That orange and black, schedule-killing, “DETOUR” sign and its implications replayed in my head like a symphony of dissonance. How quickly my favorite Kubota tractor colors would diminish from happily leading the way through my personal therapy sessions cutting the grass into the uneasy anticipation of “cutting it close” for time. And my impulsive intentions climbed from internal complaints to an almost inexplicable desire to disregard, hit the gas and continue past the accompanying message that read: “No Through-Traffic.” To top it all off I developed a tendency to let out an exasperated, “uhh” noise until—to my shame—my youngest daughter began to practice it the same. I remember feeling shame as I heard myself through the lips of my youngest daughter who was simply doing what I always ask of her: to listen and obey.
God’s Word provides us with detour signs (and so much more). Being aware of the detours and even believing what they say, however is different than changing our actions because of them. Knowledge and experience are two types of knowing and as fallen people we are not only primed to drive past the signs because it’s quicker or because I just felt like it. We grow very numb to God’s detours and their design. As God’s people, the Church if we don’t succumb to the world’s gnostic thoughts that creep in—like Pastor Davis spoke about a few weeks ago—we just flat out take matters into our own hands become our own cape-draped masters and flat out ignore God. Maybe we don’t disagree with Him but when I know He says “Stop,” do I go? When He says, “I want you to do this another way” or “We’re taking a different route because it will protect you from danger,” and “Trust me I’ll carry you through.” Be honest; What do you most commonly do next.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Roman’s Road Evangelism Curriculum?” One great tool for sharing our faith. The book of Romans in the Bible is a go-to for Christian theology from root—the what in Chapter’s 1-11—to the how-to fruit of chapters 12 to the end. Yet I read it all mostly to store it up to make me feel better. And that’s just on me. On top that this world sends it own signals like distracting buttons of the radio or the next message I can’t forget to send from my phone—making me forgot God gave me His very own Spirit to turn theology into living, breathing practice for me and this is the moment we go from knowing God by the revelation of The Word to known as His (Jn 13:35; 14:15). But as my seminary counseling professor used to say in every single class: “Insight doesn’t create change, practicing it does.”
Insight to action.
At some point (likely somewhere around the same time I was passing kidney stone number 70-something) God began showing me that even the small things like road-detour signs are within God’s grand plans for teaching my daughter through me how to really live. And if we look with eyes that really see and believe everything is spiritual and accept the compelling Holy Spirit to act in and through us, it will not only mold our character but influence those of our daughters and sons. God’s detour signs should drive us to take in The Word and respond with His mercies because we are called and equipped to move from insight to act.