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When the Detour Becomes Your New Road

This isn’t the ticket I bought.

That’s what I thought when my health took a detour and I found myself on a road I hadn’t anticipated. A road I wasn’t prepared for. A road I didn’t want to travel.

Laura Story understands how that feels. Everything radically changed after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Watching him struggle to breathe and withstand significant memory loss, Laura begged God to heal her husband and restore their lives to the way they were.

Life hadn’t been perfect, but it had been good.

Laura told her sister of her desire to return to the normal trial-free life she had before. And her sister insightfully responded, “You know, Laura, I think the detour you are on is actually the road.”

The detour you are on is actually the road.

What a horrifying thought.

When my plans go awry, I always want to believe that I have taken a temporary detour. Maybe it’s a long one, but I hope that the real road, the road where I can return to being happy and fulfilled, is just ahead. Maybe it’s only around the corner, if I can simply hang on.

Aching for Normalcy

I was talking to a friend recently about that desire to return to normalcy. She doesn’t know how to handle her newly developed health problems. Should she pray for healing and expect God to answer? Or should she come to terms with chronic pain and disability?

I understand her questions. I have asked them myself.

Should I earnestly ask God to change my circumstances? Should I draw near to him in prayer, write down my requests and regularly seek him for the things in my life that I want to see changed? Godly things. Restoration. Healing. Return to active ministry.

Or do I recognize that I am on a different road? One that may not bring the healing and restoration that I would like, but rather a closeness to Jesus that I could not get any other way. Do I hold loosely to the expectation of changed circumstances and cling tighter to the hope that will never disappoint—the hope that is rooted in Jesus?

Yes.

God invites me to ask him to change the things that I long to be different. To persevere. To trust that my prayers make a difference.

But at the same time, God bids me to accept where I am. To let him meet me in the darkness. To find comfort in his presence. To see him as more important than any change in my circumstances.

God calls me to do both. Every day. On every road.

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vaneetharendall@churchleaders.com'
Vaneetha Rendall is a freelance writer who lives in Raleigh, NC. She blogs regularly at www.danceintherain.com.