I have a friend who looked in his rear view mirror and saw the sign to a church, which propelled him to whip his car into into an unplanned detour. It altered his entire life. His trajectory changed that Sunday. Each time I hear the story, I have a picture in my mind of that mirrored reflection, its sliver view, and the unseen picture of something unimaginably bigger.
Detours aren’t always a choice, unlike my friends’. Sometimes their end isn’t happy, but often they are necessary.
Detours aren’t always a choice. Sometimes their end isn’t happy, but often they are necessary
“Rise and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord told Ananias.
And there was Ananias, minding his own business, going about trying to follow Jesus and leading in the Damascus baby-church. Saul’s participation in the martyrdom of Stephen had hit the grapevine of Damascus. Saul’s name brought terror.
He “breathed out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (9:1).
Like a time bomb, signed and sealed in a letter, Saul headed in their direction, intent to seek out those of the Way.
But, on the road to Damascus, Saul met Jesus. It was an epic detour.
Ananias thought maybe the Lord had missed the memo on Saul and so he reminded Him. “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name,” Acts 9:13-14; ESV.
But hey, Ananias wasn’t exactly on that road at the time. He didn’t see the bright light, hear the voice of Jesus, or see the Risen Savior.
“Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” Saul-Paul asked later, still establishing his credentials in 1 Cor. 9:1. (ESV)
Saul, blinded by the bright light and stunned by the revelation of the resurrected Jesus, was lead to the street called Straight, a destination he never imagined. Humbled and broken, potholed and shaken, Jesus showed Saul, the things he must suffer for Christ, his new Lord.
Nor did the man Ananias ever expect his route would take him to pray with a renowned murderer on a street called Straight.
Life is full of twisty, turn-y, unexpected detours.
I am bumping along one now. I’m not having fun yet. But I have been detoured before and my rear view mirror shows me a tiny sliver of God’s vastness.
My vision can’t even begin to see the whole picture. But, I can rest in knowing His detours are actually right roads, straight and true. They point to His goodness, and grace, held strong by His love for me.
All bumps aside, I know the street I’m heading for.