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Obstacles and Detours

 What do you do when you've spent a great deal of time, effort, energy, or even money on a plan and then it doesn't work out?  How do you handle it when a detour sign is suddenly placed in front of you?  Sometimes our plans don't work out at all, sometimes the end result of our plan still occurs but the path there does not follow the map we designed, and sometimes we are just going about our day to day life and suddenly we are hit with an unexpected obstacle.  The bottom line is that things don't always go our way, no matter how diligent we may be about calculating all the possible outcomes.

I have recently been faced with this scenario.  I thought I would share with you what I'm finding when I go back to God's Word to look at two men who faced unexpected situations themselves.  I read their stories again looking for the details of how they dealt with the unexpected and what the end result of their decisions were.

When David was but a child, he was small and not even the size or stature of an average Israelite soldier and yet when he was challenged by a 9'6" giant named Goliath, he did not waver for a second.  Was it because he was stronger than Goliath? Did he have more military experience than Goliath? No!

The fact was that David was prepared long before the battle ever arrived and his reaction was a reflection of that preparation. He was confident, not in his own power, but in the power of the God that he served and who protected him.  David walked on to the battlefield knowing that he would be victorious!  He had a solid confidence, but how was he able to get that confidence in the first place?  The answer comes from an earlier time in David's life when he was but a shepherd for him Father.

David had been required to fight off a lion and a bear while protecting the sheep.  He discovered through those battles that God had given him the wisdom and strength to be victorious over his enemy.  Because this had happened more multiple times in his life, by the time he saw Goliath, he expected that God would do the very same thing in this battle.  David had already developed an unwavering faith in God.

Once David arrived at the camp that day, he had no idea that a battle that would go down in history and be connected to his name forever was about to unfold.  And yet, once he saw what was happening, he quickly volunteered without much thought about the fear based comments that had been coming from the warriors all around him.  The only statistics he was concerned with were God's...and in his mind, those odds were more than sufficient!

David couldn't seem to understand why Goliath would think that he could defy the armies of God.  What human in their right mind would try to fight an immortal God?  David was also perplexed as to why the Army of  God would even spend one second worrying about Goliath's challenge.  No matter how large Goliath was,  David was focused on the fact that the Israelite army had God behind them to make them strong and bring them to victory!  Such a powerfully strong and innocent faith!  David had watched first hand how God had made him triumphant as a shepherd, and he had no reason to believe things would be different this time.

If you've read the story, you know that David volunteered for the job of battling Goliath and he faced this giant with confidence.  As I read the account again I was struck by the fact that David did not go to God and ask Him for His direction on the matter, he simply proceeds forward to protect God's people.  David had faith in God to conquer any task and overcome any difficulty that was placed before him....plain and simple.  How different would our lives be if we could have this child like faith when giants block our path?

The result was of course that Goliath was conquered with one blow from a a small boy....with an unfailing faith in his God!

Ezekiel had a wife that he loved deeply and he called her the "delight of his eyes", but God in His sovereignty suddenly called her to be with Him in Heaven.  In addition to this great loss, Ezekiel was instructed not to openly mourn for his wife.  He was not to cry, dress differently, eat differently, or cover the lower part of his face, all which were customary things to do while mourning in his culture. (Ezek 24:16-17) To say that this was an obstacle or detour to the plans he had for his life is probably a gross understatement.  How did Ezekiel respond?  The short answer is that the next day he did was he was commanded and proceeded with his duties without outwardly grieving his loss. (Ezek 24:18)

God used Ezekiels circumstances and his response as an example of what He was going to require of Israel.  Israel was about to lose their beloved city and like Ezekiel they would not be allowed to mourn. (Ezek 24:19-24)  Ezekiel went through tremendous trials not because of his own sin. He did nothing wrong yet he lost his wife and was not allowed to mourn because God wanted him to tell His people that what he had done in response to his great loss, was what they too would be required to do.
God allows certain things to happen to us for a purpose. He wants us to use those experiences for His purpose. We may be experiencing afflictions now because God wants us to be able to comfort someone in a similar circumstance, or perhaps to be an example of obedience in difficult times.  Sometimes we will see a glimpse of His plan and other times we are required to walk solely by faith, trusting in the character of God the Father.
We learn from Ezekiel’s life is that to following the command of God.  He did not allow his private sorrow to affect his public duty.  Even after he lost his wife, he went about his public duties the very next morning. Do we allow our trials to affect our ministry? Are we so engrossed with our old problems that we stop seeking the things of God altogether?

I pray today that we deepen our relationship with Christ, drawing nearer to His heart and as a result we strengthen our faith so that we too can respond to obstacles, detours, and heartache with an immediate obedience and faith that  is stronger than our other human senses.


  1. Jessica,

    Good insights on how to handle life when things just don't work out according to plan. So often our circumstances, and how we feel about those circumstances, can lead us to make choices that are more instinctive and comfort based, rather than seeking to know God's will as to how to handle a given issue.

    Often, we can unknowingly mimic the proverbial donkey, who ends up following the carrot in front of his nose, not realizing that he is walking in circles.

    Living life by our instinctive feelings or even using our practical logic alone, without God's wisdom, is the surest way to get off the path that God has in mind to make us more like Christ.

    Sometimes, the path before us is just tough and hard, and just maybe, that is exactly what God wants us to walk upon, to cause us to move from self dependency to God dependency.

    Misplaced dependency, as to how to live our lives, has been the number one problem man has faced since Eve took the apple and surmised, "Maybe God doesn't have it all figured out. I better do it my way."

    This verse suddenly has renewed meaning:

    "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6


  2. I agree with you completely.

    God has surely taught us much about this very subject this past year and your verse is perfect!

    We definitely must be sure not to depend up on ourselves, or even each other, but only on God!

    I absolutely want to be chasing after God and not the proverbial carrot!

    Thank you for your input!


I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or suggestions!