Don't Mind the Detours

It seemed like a miracle! That long-awaited job. The acceptance letter. The proposal.

You knew it was from God and you also knew in that moment that no one was as blessed as you were. You'd kiss the sky if you could jump that far.

You were the Fair-haired Son, God's favorite, Prince for a day.

So you plunged ahead, confident that God was with you, would bless you from now on, and nothing could mess it up.

Except everything messed up.

Stunned, you backtracked to that moment when you knew--you just KNEW--God had given you this. Had he taken it back? Did you do something wrong? Had he handed your Fair-haired Son Award to someone else?

Abram must have wondered the same thing. God had come down and actually spoken to him, promised him out-of-the-blue that all this delicious land was his for the taking! HIS! And all those descendants he didn't have yet.

It was beautiful, lush, fruitful and it was HIS!

Abram must have done the Patriarchal version of the happy dance. Possibly called it the Blessed Dance.

But a mere 3 verses later in Genesis 12, we learn that "there was a famine in the land."

Imagine how Abram felt.

What's up with the famine, Lord? I thought this was gonna be great! My land, and all that? I can't live in a place like this, dust blowing everywhere, no food, no water...What kind of thing have You led me to? Was it all a joke?

In confusion and possibly disappointment, he packed up and headed to Egypt to keep from starving to death. I found it worthy of notice that when God promised him the land, Abram built and altar and "called upon the name of the Lord."

Then he did the Egyptian detour and things got a little rocky. Scared to death, a foreigner in this wicked land, he forgot to trust God and resorted to lying. He did not deserve to be bailed out of his cowardly act, but God did anyway.

He eventually left his foray into Egypt even richer than when he went in. God used his mistakes and brought good out of it anyway, because he knew Abram's heart. God is amazingly patient that way.

I noticed that when Abram and company got back to his Promised Land, the Bible says "he again called upon the name of the Lord." I'll bet he did! Kissed the ground, probably. But most likely realized with great sadness that he had NOT been calling upon the name of the Lord the whole time he was in Egypt.

Don't we do that too?

We get very spiritual when we can see God's Hand directly involved in our lives, bringing us what we want. But then things change. The sky clouds up, the job gets shaky, the school changed it's mind and all of a sudden, we think God disappeared.

Take a lesson from Abram. Even though a famine looked like the worst possible disaster for a new plantation owner, God was still in charge. God knew about the famine. He also knew what Abram would do and arranged to bless him anyway, while he learned a few things about God. By the time he got back to his Promised Land, he was better off than when he left.

And when your life seems to be taking a wrong turn, your golden dream has all but disintegrated, what you thought was a promise from God appears to be nothing but a daydream, take heart. God knows about the broken dream, the broken heart, the broken promise.

And he can bring you out of it better than you were before. He's far better than a GPS, because he delights in detours. Just ask Father Abraham.

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