Life’s Detours

Please read 1 Samuel 17:17-30 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tammy Mills):

David’s family was torn apart by war. His older brothers were off fighting the enemy and he was left back home to tend the flocks. He was too young to be in the army and make a difference for his country. Then one day his regular routine is interrupted. His dad asks him to run an errand to deliver supplies to his brothers in the army. David can’t wait to run this errand. He is up early and headed to the war front. As history will teach us this “errand” David is on will change the fate of the whole nation!

This story gives me hope. I sometimes think my life is so “ordinary” there really isn’t much I can do to make a difference in this world. When I read a story like this I am reminded that at anytime God might send me on an “errand to the front”. Or God might be interrupting my plans to lead me in a new direction that is more closely in aliment with God’s will for me.

I got the following email the other day from a friend who had previously asked for prayer, because he has a brain tumor and is facing surgery. When he put that prayer out on our prayer list God stared sending him on one amazing “detour”:

“What I have discovered is that God works in a mysterious ways. Because of the prayer I posted to our list, I heard from a pastor. He called because he had a co-worker, who in 2004, had the very same kind of brain tumor I do. I talked to this coworker, who was sharing with me his results from having his treatment not surgically, like I am scheduled for, but through stereotactic radiation therapy using a high tech machine called a Novellus. I was seriously re-considering this procedure and was going to talk with my surgeon about this possibility on Thursday of this week.

My surgeon calls me today, because there has developed a problem with one of the key machines that monitors the nerves during the surgical procedure I am scheduled to have, so essentially we would have to cancel next Wednesday’s surgery.

So I mention this procedure with the Novellus radiation, and what pursued was an interesting discussion. A hospital closer to me has actually acquired the most recent technological development in that field called a “Cyber-Knife” machine. An extremely precise radiation therapy, that zeroes in on the tumor with minimal effect on surrounding tissue. His advice was to take a hard look at that possibility.

Next Tuesday, I have an appointment with the radiation oncologist, whereupon we will discuss the possibility of pursuing this form of treatment rather the invasive surgery I had scheduled.”

What a lot of detours. Clearly, it seems that God was using these detours to help my friend find the best possible treatment.

This scripture, along with my friend’s experience, makes me want to rethink my attitude toward “life’s little detours”. I need to move myself toward David’s eager attitude to head off on the “errand to the front”. Perhaps today, when someone comes in my office and “interrupts” my regular routine I will see that “interruption” as God asking me to take a little “detour to the front”.

Question for the day: Am I willing to trust my daily plans to God’s control? Can I trust that God is working even in my “detours”?

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: the relationship-focused Oasis Groups — the Tuesday Couples’ Oasis, the Thursday Couples’ Oasis, and the Honeymooners’ Oasis — and the groups’ leaders — Stan and Skip Lyford-Jones, Paul Hancock and Richard Morse, and Sheryl Holko.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.