Detours – July 9, 2017

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Sermon |

One of the worst things you can do to a driver who is rushing from point A to point B, is to throw up the dreaded “Detour” sign to into their route.

Throughout the bible, God used detours to recalculate the directions of lives of His people to be better aligned with His plans. I believe that God-detours still happen today to believers who are seeking God’s will and desires above all.

Psalm 37:23
The steps of a good person are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

Say, “I am a good person and my steps are ordered by Him.

Carjacked

A few months into my salvation, while working on a graphic design project for school, I decided to take a break, head to the store and pick up some drinks and some a frozen pizza from the neighborhood supermarket. As I was leaving, I told my mom of my plans, and set off on what should have been a 15 minute round trip. Just like previous nights, I was in, went straight to my beverage of choice, and stopped by the freezer section to pick up my Red Barron brand supreme pizza, checked out and started to make my way towards the door. As I approached the exit, God audibly spoke to me in the store, He said, “He is will carjack you.”

Upon hearing that, I stopped, looked around and saw who God was talking about. He was a big white guy, bushy beard probably 6 foot 4 inches and 280 pounds.

“Him?” I asked God, gesturing with my chin, so not to draw attention to myself.

“Yes,” God replied.

I said, “Praise God for saving me!” turned to go the other way before God spoke again… “Offer him a ride anywhere he wants to go.”

I literally stopped in my footsteps, looked up to the sky and said, “WHAT!?!”

I thought, “Ok, that can’t be God, I must be hearing the devil!”

Pausing, I felt in my heart it was God. Not knowing His plans for the situation, I made a decision to be obedient. Lowering my head, I walked outside, right up to the guy.

“Excuse me…” the man started. Interrupting him, I asked, “Would you like a ride sir?”

In shock, the man… stuttering said… “Umm, ahh, well, yes.”

I replied, “Great, I’m parked right over there, follow me.”

We arrived at my truck and I put my groceries in the back seat, hopped in the drivers seat and watched the man approach the passenger-side door in my mirror. I watched him pause, adjust something in his belt/pants waist, cover it with his shirt and climb in the front seat.

“Where would you like to go?” I asked the man.

Again, hesitantly, he started to stutter and saying, “Umm, ahh, well, what?”

Again, I asked, “Where would you like to go?” I added, “I’ll take you anywhere you want tonight but would like to get home soon to make my pizza before it defrost.”

With a confused look on his face, he said, “Down West Bellfort towards Murphy Road.”

What the man didn’t know was, I was about to mess in my pants.

After about 20 minutes of directing and driving, the man asked, “Why did you offer me a ride?”

I replied, “Do you really want to know?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“God told me that you needed a ride as I was leaving the store and instructed me to offer you a ride anywhere you wanted, so here I am. Just trying to be obedient because I’m a new Christian and trying to learn what to do.”

Wide-eyed, he muttered one word… “W-What?”

I was a bit speechless too, I just smirked and shrugged me shoulder and said, “Where to now?”

He replied, “Why would God offer me a ride thru you?”

Before replying, I thought, “Because He must be mad at me for something.” But instead, I replied, “I guess because He knew you needed a ride and wanted you to know that He heard you.”

With that the man, pointed towards a side street and said, “Turn left there and pull over, here’s my stop.”

It was a dead-end. So I asked, “Are you sure?” now thinking, “Gosh, I’m going to die here tonight?”

“Y-yes, just drop me off and go home. Thank you for the ride.” He said.

In shock, I pulled over, he got out of the truck shaking his head and I zipped off to the dead-end, u-turned and started drove past him. As I watched him in the mirror, I could see him still shaking his head.

Roadside Assistance

Another time, a few years into salvation, I met this girl named Annette, who worked in the building that I had my design studio at. She was a receptionist of the company who owned the building and a person I passed 5-6 days a week while walking to my office.

One morning as I was walking passed her desk, God said, “Invite her to lunch.”

I stopped in my footsteps, turned into her office, introduced myself and asked if I could buy her lunch that day. Remember, I was single at that time and God would rarely or never ask a married person to do as I did.

Annette looked caught off guard but said, “Yes.”

“Great,” I said, “I’ll come by at noon to get you. You pick the restaurant.”

Noon came and I made my way to her desk, walked her to my car and made our way to the restaurant.

We ate, we talked, and it was a “normal” start to a new friendship.

Once we got into my car to make our way back to our building, she started to cry.

“I don’t know why I feel like telling you this,” she proclaimed, “I am a single mother and have a desire to marry my daughter’s father, who isn’t a believer and has been estranged from us for over three months”

Now, I was in shock, I pulled over, grabbed her hand and said… “Well, that sounds like a good desire and I believe that if it is aligned with God’s heart, we can pray, and it will happen.”

I prayed that this man’s heart would turn towards God’s, then to Annette, and lastly to his daughter. I added that before the day ended, Annette would receive a call with God’s decision to our prayer.

I was a new Christian, fairly untouched by religious Christianity, and tried my best to seek God’s heart on any situation before praying.

However, the older I got and the more “churched” I became, I noticed that my less faith I displayed.

At the end of the day, I received a phone call on my office line. I picked up and heard a woman crying.

“Ma-am, are you okay,” I asked, “may I help you?”

The voice on the other end replied, “He called, he called, and said that He wants God, me, and my daughter. God answered your prayers, my daughter is going to have a father.”

I started to cry and answered her, “It was our prayers, Annette and it was 100% my pleasure. Thank you for letting me pray for you.”

In the months that followed, they married, joined a church, and became a family.

About a year passed after my last contact with Annette. I was driving up 59 towards 288 when God’s audible voice entered my car.

“Pull over and help Annette,” the voice said.

I looked on the shoulder of both sides, saw a newer model sedan stranded on the inner shoulder, and told God…  “Annette, drive a beat up read truck, God, not a new sedan.”

Just in case I was wrong, I changed lanes to the left most lane.

As I passed the broken car, I turned my neck to see if it was indeed Annette standing by the car.

You know what, it was!

I sweared my car and pulled over. Got out and walked over to her, noticing that she was frantically trying to make a call.

I said, “Hi Annette, looks like you’re having some car issues. Can I help?”

She started to mumble, I’m trying to call my friend Jonnathan as she looked up to me.

“Jonnathan!, she screamed, started to cry and said, “I’ve been trying to call you since my car broke down because I remembered that you lived down the street.”

She added, “Oh my God, are you an angel?”

After convincing her that I was not an angel, a tow truck driver pulled up and asked if he could tow her off the highway to safety. Upon arriving at the gas station, the tow truck driver walked up and said, “I don’t normally offer this, but if you have a spare tire, I’ll change it out for you for free.”

Not knowing if she had a spare, we checked, found a full-size spare and sat in my truck watching the guy change out the tire, clean up, get into his tow truck, without giving any invoice, wave at us, honk and drive off.

Looking at Annette, I reiterated, “I’m not an angel but I there’s a chance he was.”

Proverbs 16:9
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Has God ever taken you on a detour?

We know God’s love through the cross, however scripture states that He knows our love through our obedience. John 14:15 states, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Through my walk with Christ, I have come to a realization of His timing. If God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, He also know how early He needed to ask us to do something before we do it and how many detours we would need to fulfill His command.

To this day, I don’t know if I would have been carjacked, if that was a real man, an angel, or just a guy who needed to know God heard him. But I do know this, I’m still alive and that man I left on the corner of a dead-end street was alive when I left him.

Likewise, I don’t know where Annette is and how her family is doing.

What I do know is, the detours God brought me through, was exactly what He needed at that time, no matter how scary or inconvenience they were.

Have you ever been a victim of a God-detour, or on a receiving end of a God-detour? I’m sure that if you think about it really heard, you have been on both accounts.

I’m not telling you these to encourage you to give big creepy guys random rides, or pull over for anyone stranded on the side of the road. I’m telling you these testimonies to encourage you that if you hear God’s voice, do what He asked, you may be walking into an opportunity to be as He is.

Biblical Examples of God-detours

  1. Jonah and Nineveh
  2. Mary, mother of Jesus Christ
  3. Paul (Saul) on the road to Damascus
  4. Moses

For those who know some of the life events God has brought me to and through, you know that God has worked every one of them for good, no matter how dire or inconvenience.

Olivia once asked me earlier on in our relationship if God gets upset at how long it takes us to say yes to His command.

My belief and experience is, God knows us intimately, knowing exactly how long we’ll delay before saying yes and what detours we may need to take us to wherever He wants us to do exactly what He asks of us.

The goal of every Christian is to be consistent, allowing our yes be yes and our no be no, while working to lower the time it takes us to do exactly as God says, without delay.

My testimony about the carjacker, Annette, Jonah, Mary, Paul, and Moses are instances of God taking His believers on detours which got them to be exactly where God needed them, exactly when they were needed.

Bow your heads. Father Lord, thank that we are your sheep and Your word proclaims that your sheep know your voice. Cause us to hear and follow exactly what you command of us, daily and without hesitation. In Jesus name.

SALVATION:

I never want to end a service without giving an opportunity to for those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If this is your first time hearing about Jesus Christ and you want what we have. It is freely yours. Would everyone close your eyes and repeat after me:

Lord, my heart yearns for You. I ask You to be my Lord, Savior, and Father today. I ask You to come into my heart, wash me in Your blood, and make me whole. Today, I have received your free gift of salvation and choose You, as my Lord, Savior and Heavenly Father, in Jesus name, amen.