Trusting the Detour

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I take the same route to work every day. But sometimes I still check Google maps, just in case there’s a train blocking the road and too much traffic (all the dark red lines), then I could take the long way round. One Monday morning, I checked Google maps. Road closed less than a mile from work, it said, and told me to take a huge detour using the highway. But the traffic colors looked alright, just a few darker shades of red near intersections. Nah, I thought. Maybe Google is mistaken. The usual route looks fine, let’s just go on and see.

Of course, 15 minutes later, the road was blocked off. A red arrow pointed right. Detour, it said. With no other choice in sight, all the trucks and cars were turning right. I followed along. But at the next intersection, many started doing U-turns to go back the way they came. Google said instead to make a left turn and continue. Well I didn’t trust it before, maybe I should trust it now. It directed me toward some deserted warehouse place, then once I was near it, kept asking me to make a U-turn. Well then why on earth tell me to go there in the first place? Then I too had to make a U-turn and go back down the way I came, backtrack down the usual route, pass by abnormally long lines of cars and trucks on the opposite lane, then sit blindly behind a cab of an 18-wheeler and stare at its dusty bumper, wait through 4 interminable traffic cycles for the left turn, then finally get on the highway. A 15 minute commute turned into 50 minutes, because I did not trust Google when I should have, and I trusted Google when I shouldn’t have.

Yes, Google Maps makes mistakes sometimes, but it knows better – usually. We should trust it, with a good dose of common sense. And what about trusting an infallible God, who never makes mistakes?

Sometimes we think we know better how to serve God. We should be doing that, not this. We think we know where our lives should be heading, in order to glorify God better. But we don’t. We can’t see what lies ahead, but God sees everything. And though the path is sometimes a strange detour, God works for our good – for someone else, ourselves, the world – even if we may never know it.

And maybe we think we’ve got to do all these things, use all these talents that God has given us, and so we should, but God also calls us just to listen to him, wait on him. Like John Milton writing as he went blind, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” Like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. And that is the “better thing, and it will not be taken away”.

Joy Tie, USA
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