The date was September, 20, 2002.
Skies were overcast but the slight breeze was warm. An excited group of ladies started out early that morning to attend a weekend ladies conference. There were two vehicles in our little caravan. Both cars were filled with joyous, lively chatter as only a group of ladies can provide.
The first leg of the journey from Wabash, Indiana to the outskirts of Indianapolis, Indiana took about 1 1/2 hours. There we planned to stop for a late breakfast/early lunch. We voted on where to stop and Cracker Barrel won. After eating a scrumptious meal we just had to take time to browse the gift shop.
We were behind schedule but no one seemed to mind. The conference didn’t start until that evening and we were only a little over two hours away.
Laughter and happy talk again filled the cars – so much so that we missed our turn off. But we still weren’t worried. We thought we could just take the next turn off and find our way.
No one paid much attention as the skies seemed to darken and the wind picked up. After all it was late September and the weather is iffy at that time of year in Indiana.
As we wound our way through little towns and rural roads to get back to the main highway the happy talk dimmed a little. The sky seemed to get darker by the minute and the wind was howling by now.
Finally in a small farm community we saw the sign directing us to the main highway. It was just a matter of traveling through the one main street of the sleepy downtown and we would be back on track. Until we got just at the far edge of town and saw the sign – DETOUR.
Another bump in the road!
The small winding road that was marked as the detour was almost a dirt road and by now the wind was screaming, the rain was coming down in torrents and the sky was an eerie green color.
The happy car talk was gone – replaced by low praying and murmurs of comfort between the sweet ladies in the car.
Finally after many twists and turns on the sub-grade road we finally saw the sign for the main highway and crept up to the on-ramp.
As we approached the turn to enter the highway a horrendous sight awaited us. Trees were twisted or shirred off. Cars were pushed in heaps, some on their tops and some just piles of metal. Roofs were torn off and buildings were collapsed, some foundations were clean of rumble where a house or store stood just minutes before. Business signs disappeared in the wind or were bent in sinister shapes.
We were aghast and there was not a word spoken for many seconds. Everywhere our eyes looked there was destruction. The emergency personnel hadn’t even arrived on the scene yet and the wheels of one overturned car were still spinning.
We finally managed to get to our destination but many hours late and much more subdued than when we started.
We later learned some frightening statistics on this storm – the storm path ran for 112 miles and was on the ground for 18 minutes. The swath of the storm was 200 yards wide. There were at least 4 tornadoes that slashed through the state. 32 counties in Indiana were effected with $156 million dollars in damage reported which resulted in the governor of Indiana declaring a state of emergency.
But we were stuck in a detour.
The storm passed less than a mile away but – we were stuck in a detour!! A frustrating, at the time, unplanned for detour.
Have you ever chaffed at the detours in your life? When your schedules go to pot do you wonder why?
I have to admit that I’ve questioned why the tire had to be flat the morning I had an important meeting. Or how fair it was that my precious schedule was interrupted with some unexpected event.
Maybe I was just stuck in a detour!!!
God uses detours to slow us down and smell the roses or hide us from danger under His wing. Just like He did us that September morning.
I have to believe that I’m in God’s hands and those pesky detours don’t take Him by surprise. He promised in His word that He has it all in control!
For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 AMP
So the next time the kids spill milk for the third time and make you late for work or you need to walk away from your to-do list just pause a minutes and …………
Thank God for the detour!!
It will make a difference in the way we view those unexpected happenings called detours and turn our frustration into praise!!