Oh, we were SO excited to finally be visiting the States!!! Three years of only seeing family and friends on Zoom or WhatsApp calls, wanting to give real IN-person hugs, looking forward to pigging out on corn on the cob and other summertime favorites…

Detour #1 came when I tested positive for COVID several days before we were to leave Thailand for the US. Prior to that we had been jumping through numerous hoops in our annual visa renewal process. Every year it seems another hiccup emerges as we navigate the necessary bureaucracy. My husband needed an affidavit from the US Consulate “proving” that we’re married. No problems there! Then we needed a letter from our Thai bank verifying we had sufficient funds in place for our particular kind of visa. No problem there — almost! The bank was closed because of COVID. Thankfully, the very day we needed said document it was open. But then I tested positive…

Detour #2 came once we got to the States. (As an aside, the day before flying both of us tested negative for COVID, which gave us “permission” to make the long journey homeward.) A few weeks after arriving in the US my father-in-law had a fall. Thankfully, nothing was broken! But the fall surfaced a pre-existing condition that required surgery… then rehab… then returning home and in need of care. My husband and I then became caregivers. Not exactly what we had foreseen for our time in the States.

More than once in the “COVID season of my life” it became evident that God was wanting to help me realize I’m not in control. Duh. Why on earth did I ever think I WAS in control of anything?!? And so I had thought I pretty much had a handle on that reality… until this most recent event. Now, all our plans to visit family and friends all over the US (normally we make a 5-6 week road trip for that purpose) got thrown out the window. And once again I was reminded that I’m not in control.

“… your agonizing, unplanned detour is not a waste — not if you look to the Lord for His unexpected work and do everything in His name.”

John Piper in Solid Joys, May 25th

Yes, this is a detour in our plans… and yet we are SO very thankful that God arranged for us to be in the States at this particular time! We’ve been learning a lot in our new roles, both we as caregivers and Dad learning his new capabilities and limitations. And yet, as Piper says, this detour is not a waste but rather an opportunity to engage in “unexpected work” that, in all honesty, can at times can be challenging, frustrating, and confusing. But ultimately, GOD is the One in charge of where we go, what we do… ALL of our days! And so we rest in knowing that HE is in control… and then the “unexpected work” actually becomes something quite rewarding. A privilege.

We keep having detours… like days when the internet isn’t working and I get bent out of shape because I can’t do what I need to do– when I want to do it. (Harkens back to the ole “being in control” theme, wouldn’t you say?!) Or when the car battery dies… or when I struggle with a critical spirit because of unrealistic expectations of others… or…

Ultimately, as a follower of Christ, my final destination is heaven. This time on earth is a journey that God Himself is directing… and so if He chooses to have me zig and zag to get to my final home, then so be it!

As I remember this truth, then I can’t help but have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life!” But I forget this from time to time… and so may we help each other to remember, to keep things in perspective, to keep our focus on the One who can keep us on the right path.

3 thoughts on “Detours…”

  1. Thanks, Mary.
    I have been being taught a lesson in patience these last 3 weeks
    Had a trip planned with departure the last week in May, but has been postponed , and post poned, etc. Perhaps next week…..Detours, again.
    Keep looking up.


  2. Thanks, Mary! Ah, detours. It seems that Kari’s and I have been on several detours as of late. I wonder why the word ‘detour’ has such a negative connotation. Hmm. Perspective, huh?


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