Road closed ahead. Follow detour. Nothing upsets me more than an unexpected change in my route, especially if I’m running late or I’m not sure where I’m going. We always want to take the most direct route to wherever we’re going on life’s journey. Time is ticking and we are focused on our destination.
Why are we in a hurry to dash off to the next thing? The next, better-paying job, a more fulfilling relationship, bigger house or a fancier car?
I think God purposely sets up these “roadblocks,” while we perceive them as delays or setbacks, when He is preparing us for the next step. None of this time is wasted when we can stay present to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It is the plan from the beginning. We’re the ones still learning to appreciate Divine Timing.
Why does God purposely detour the Hebrews south just after He parts the Red Sea, instead of leading them straight north and east? Because they are not yet ready to face the challenges in the Promised Land.
Much like us, all they know how to do is complain and pine away for the familiarity of slavery in Egypt. Most are so focused on either the past or the future where they think everything will be better, that they are blind to the lesson God is teaching them. Like how to trust in Him now.
One of the hardest things for me to do is stay present during a challenge. I want to sprint through it as fast as I can, as if I’m running on hot coals. My semester of teaching an ESL grammar class has been difficult and is almost over. Grammar has never been my favorite thing and very few teachers I know consider it easy either. But God reminds me to stay present with my students. It’s more important for me to show them patience, kindness and love than to make sure they all earn A’s on the final.
God knows the true desire of my heart, and He will lead me there, one step at a time during what feels like a major detour. I can’t help but take a lot of comfort from a hidden gem by Amy Grant. It’s a duet she sings with her daughter, who might also be following in Mom’s footsteps. It’s called Overnight, and the chorus goes like this, if it all just happened overnight, you wouldn’t know how much it means, if it all just happened overnight, you would never learn to believe in what you cannot see.
Learning a new language is also a long, step-by-step journey. I alone can’t make my students totally fluent in English in 15 short weeks, but I am confident that they are making their best efforts at improving. I am only part of the process, but an important part, nonetheless. I can do my best to show them that I genuinely care about not only their progress, but also their lives, and having positive experiences while in Pittsburgh.
Teaching and learning a language is just as a relational process as our walk with God. Neither happens overnight, but step by step.