A Little Detour on the Way to Church

I love reading, studying, and meditating on God's Word. The more you read it, the more you want to and the more you realize you need to. It's so amazing to read the stories of so many saints and villians, cheering for their victory or their demise, and learning lessons regarding your own life along the way. In most Bible stories, there is the recurring theme of faith...people trusting and obeying God even when things do not seem to be going well. And then it all turns out awesome in the end, or at least in eternity, and we get to glean all the wonderful golden nuggets that these people had to flesh out. God's hand in all of it seems so obvious to us, the casual hindsight observers.

Don't you wish we could see our own lives with that perspective?

I'm sold into slavery by my brothers, get wrongly accused of rape, spend years in prison - no worries. I'm sure God's just waiting to put me in charge of the country and reconcile my family.

I have to put my baby in a basket and send him floating down the river to escape murder? No big deal. God's probably going to use him to deliver His chosen people from the evil king and give him a big shout-out in the Book He'll write someday.

God wants me to convince my fiance that I'm really a pregnant virgin then travel 100 miles by foot while I'm in labor only to give birth next to a stinky cow? I'm game. He's probably going to work all that to show the world true humility and bring about the salvation of mankind.

I'm going to leave my livelihood and family to follow around this really different homeless guy who claims to be God's Son only to watch him be arrested and killed by crucifixion? Count me in!

We can see God weaving these situations into the tapestry of His plan, even when there's sin involved, but when it comes to God working in our own lives in ways that are contrary to all our common sense, we're a little more leary. We like to see the road map before we start the trip, just so we can make sure the destination is within our reach. We'd like to know about any detours so we can factor them into our plans, and a heads-up about any traffic jams would be helpful, too.

This morning, we got up to get ready to take our family to church, because that's what good Christian people do, right? But, lacking self-discipline, we didn't get up as early as we should have. In the midst of rushing, looking out for ourselves, and making sure we looked good on the outside, we got pretty ugly on the inside. When my hair-fixing stretched on and two little boys' race to the car ended in a banged-up eye, it became apparent we weren't going to be even close to on-time.

In the end, though, I think God had another plan for our morning all along. What this family needed was a good dose of God's Word, repentance, and refocus. We needed time singing children's songs from a cheesy cd, remembering the words from His Word that we've been memoring and realizing they're more than just words to know. They're words to do. We needed to slow down, apologize, and share hugs and smiles. We needed to prepare our hearts to live for our King rather than prepare our bodies to rush out the door in a huff to worship on the outside, but not in our hearts.

While I'm not saying it's okay to stay home from gathering with other believers every week, eat scrambled eggs together, say, "Jesus loves you," and call it church, I am saying that sometimes I need to slow down long enough to see what God's really trying to do. Life's little detours and traffic jams are often the whole point of our journey. Rather than getting frustrated with them, we can choose the see small glimpses of God's glory in them and give thanks that He saw fit to show it to us.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body [or got to church on time every week], I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
I Corinthians 13:3 (with a little personal application by Amy)


  1. That's a good one!! I'll call you as soon as I go borrow coffee (but I'm not returning it) from Crystal.


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