Updated: May 6, 2020
They can come at any time, those unplanned visitors. I'm not talking about people who show up at your house uninvited. I mean the little distractions that try to take your focus away from what you're doing in the moment. Or the major detours that stop you in your tracks and completely rearrange your day (or month, or year).
We've all experienced them, and for the most part, we consider them to be a negative or aggravating thing. I mean, after all, they get in the way of what we're doing; they push us off our course, they mess up our carefully crafted plans.
But what if these unexpected detours were actually divine interruptions? What if they are really God saying, "I know you want to do that, but let's do this instead."
It might be hard to recognize at first. Sometimes, it's not until you come out at the other end that you realize it was a God thing.
Not long ago, as I was leaving my house to go to a meeting I was leading, I couldn't find the notebook that contained my outline and scripture references for the evening. I looked everywhere. My purse, my tote bag, the bedroom, the kitchen, the office, the living room. I even looked in my car. A friend was with me. She helped me look again in all the places I had already checked. Time was running out, and we had to leave to get to the meeting.
Driving to the meeting, I began to question myself. Was there something wrong with the teaching I had planned to share? No, I don't think so. Was it biblically grounded? Yes. Had I heard from the Lord about the topic? I'm pretty sure I had. So what happened to the notebook?
When I arrived, I felt a little unprepared, to say the least. I don't like feeling like that. I'm one of those people who need to know. I like structure, hence the outline. I like knowing how things will start out, how they'll end up, and everything in between. I can see you chuckling right now. By the time the meeting started, I had figured out that the Lord had something different in mind for the evening.
Here's the thing. It wasn't so much that I forgot where I put the notebook... I forgot that it was God's meeting. We were all there to hear from Him. All I had to do was sit back and watch Him unfold His plan for the meeting. It was powerful. It was beautiful. And lives were touched in a way that can't be outlined, in advance, on paper.
Is it wrong to have a plan? No. Is it wrong to want to keep our focus and resist what, on the surface, would seem to be distractions and interruptions? Not necessarily. But when they do come, be prepared to yield. Take a minute to ask Holy Spirit if this is a God moment. Take a few steps down the alternate path and you'll soon know if He's the one leading you. If so, take His hand and enjoy the journey. If not, ask Him to get you back on track.
All I'm saying is be open to the possibility that the annoying detour before you could lead to a divine encounter, either for you or for others involved. Someone at that meeting needed something specific from the Lord right then, and He stepped in to provide it. If I had clung to my plan, I might have tried to reconstruct the teaching in my own head. And despite my own good intentions to deliver what He had given me earlier, I would have interfered with what He needed to do in that moment.
When I got home that evening, I was still marveling at what the Lord had done. I opened the front door, and walked across the room to put my purse down…on a table…where my notebook was sitting… in plain sight.
Lord, You are magnificent in all Your ways. They're higher than our ways, and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Help us to abide in You so completely that we are ready and willing to yield to You at all times, in all things, knowing that the outcome will reveal You in a glorious way, every time. Thank You for allowing us to witness Your mighty and merciful hand at work.