Detours and Waiting

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Yesterday, the City of Pasadena held it’s annual Pasadena Marathon, and as the course changes every year, it happened to include, this year, the street I live on. Fortunately, with a little planning ahead, my brother and I were trapped in our own driveway. We had looked at the map and figured out an alternative way to get around town… or so we thought. We failed to see the second route, so as we left the house, we discovered  we were boxed in; completely surrounded by runners! This put a damper on things. Now how would we get to church? We made a couple u-turns and finally decided the only way was to see if they would let us cross the route. They told us we could, but first we had to wait for a break in runners. And wait we did… for almost twenty minutes. Good thing we planned ahead and left early.

During that time, and in the minutes afterward as we continued to church, I noticed three groups of people. The first group consisted of those who just couldn’t wait. A couple of cars waiting to cross soon gave up and turned around. One was in back of us and another was on the other side of the street. I also saw a guy who moved to the front of the line when the car in front turned around, but after waiting a couple minutes, he turned his truck off and walked across the street to his house—two houses down. Some people couldn’t seem to wait.

The second group of people included those who waited, but their annoyance at waiting showed in the way they drove. When they were out of the marathon traffic, they sped, tailgated, and cut people off. It was obvious they were impatient. I can only assume they saw the marathon as a major inconvenience they would much assume would never happen again.

And then there was the third group of people. The accepted the circumstances and, though complaining perhaps a little, didn’t let it affect the rest of their day. My brother and I we in this group. When we realized what was happening with the detours and the waiting, we knew there was nothing that could be done about it, so why let it annoy us? I tried to take advantage of the situation by slowing down and relaxing my thoughts. In a way, I was preparing my heart for church while waiting for the runners to pass.

Sometimes God throws up detour signs in our life as well. And then, when we turn around, we still come to barriers and have to wait. I am not God, nor can I presume to know the mind of God, but I wonder if one reason he does this is to see how we will react. I can only see three responses, (1) give up and/or try to make things happen yourself, (2) wait, but be annoyed and impatient, or (3) accept that God has bigger plans than you do and embrace this time, seeing it as an opportunity and making the most of it. So the question is this: When detours and waiting come into your life, how will you respond?

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