The rain in the past few weeks have brought lots of destruction. Drains clogged, roofs leaked, roads turned to streams and travels disrupted.
Some were minor surface flooding requiring just a change of speed while others were more major rising waters causing road closures with total halt in movements. Vehicles came to a standstill.
We were one of the cars caught in the jam when State Highway 2 was closed because of flooding on the road. What was normally a half an hour ride home turned into a 5 hours drive with more than 3 hours stuck at the same place before another hour plus long detour.
When we face a roadblock in life, we are faced with two choices – to wait in place or to make a detour which often means taking the longer route.
Like many people who were caught in the jam that day, our first response was to wait in the traffic. After all, the state highway was closed and there was nothing we could do about it. We joined the multitude of cars lined up just waiting for the water to subside.
At first, we were hopeful that the roads would soon be opened. We thought to ourselves, “It’s not too bad so the water would reside quickly and we’ll be moving soon.”
For the first hour, we waited with the car engine still roaring, ready to move immediately once we get the go ahead time. By the second hour, we turned off the engine and continued waiting, still hopeful but now less convinced that we would be moving anytime soon.
When we first hit a roadblock in life, often we react the same way, we just wait in line thinking that it’ll soon be our turn to get moving. We convince ourselves that the closed roads ahead won’t stay close for long so we should just wait patiently.
We quote Psalm chapter 46, verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” and Exodus chapter 14, verse 14, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” to justify our act of waiting patiently and excuse our passivity since God will fight for us.
The only problem with this wait is that more often than not, many of us just wait without doing anything. We carelessly misinterpret this wait as a command to turn off our engine and park our car. Sometimes this results in us falling into a sense of helplessness as there’s nothing for us to do which eventually forming a sense of laziness.
However, another version of the aforementioned verse in Exodus records Moses’ saying in this manner, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today... The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” The stillness here refers to the peace in our heart that chases away fear as we acknowledge God is in control instead of a lack of action from us.
In the next two verses, God responds by saying to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.” (Exodus chapter 14, verse 15-16)
God expects our active involvement alongside Him as He fights for us. He doesn’t want to just do it for us but He wants to do it through us. Like the Israelites, we too need to get moving and like Moses, we too need to raise our hands in order for us to walk on dry ground through the Red Seas in our lives.
Exodus chapter 13, verse 17-18 tells us that, “It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, “If the people encounter war, they’ll change their minds and go back to Egypt.” So God led the people on the wilderness road, looping around to the Red Sea. The Israelites left Egypt in military formation.”
After being stuck for 3 hours waiting for the water to reside, we finally took the detour to head home. Although at first the detour led us farther away from home, we were at least finally on the move. With a detour, we know that our destination is still the same and we are still moving towards our home despite it taking more time.
Sometimes we are hesitant to make a detour in life but rather just wait at the spot, even when we are stuck, in fear of the unknown as we go farther from our destination. Like the Israelites we too may begin to be comfortable with our Egypts though it isn't our promised land.
Nonetheless we need to have faith to make detours in life just like the Israelites as they left their place of slavery. Detours, though oftentimes the longer route, build our reliance in God and prepare us for our promised land.
Whatever road closures you face in life, be it health problems, financial stability, relationship issues, know that you can be still in your spirit, with faith in a God who will fight for you by empowering you to do more than you can imagine.
As you take one step at a time with Him, even through detours in life, remember all the evidence of wonders infinite that He has done and will continue to do in our lives.
Esther Koh is a primary school teacher living in Christchurch with her husband and two sons. She loves people and has a passion for helping others find their purpose for living.
Esther Koh’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/esther-koh.html