God is In the Detours

When I was three years old, I was involved in a serious lawnmower accident. I’ll spare the details, but a riding mower turned over on me and my head was crushed beneath the weight of the machine.

I have a visual memory of the whole sequence of events leading up to the accident, including seeing and experiencing the machine turning over and crashing down on me, and then a bit of the rescue: My dad behind the wheel of the Mustang driving fast to the hospital; my mother holding me in her arms, stroking my head saying “It’s going to be OK. You’re going to be OK.”Hearing my Mom’s voice and seeing her shirt covered in my blood is the last bit I remember until later, after I was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

God was watching over me that day. I’ve always been amazed that I came away alive with only the indention in my skull and a scar to serve as a reminder.

That wasn’t the first time, nor the only time, that God has clearly been present in my life and caring for me, but coming out of that near tragedy unscathed has contributed to a sense, dating back to childhood, that I have a purpose beyond just getting through each day.

The reality is that God is always with us, always watching over you and me, whether we’re in harm’s way, being thrown a curve ball, or just going through the motions.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is when Elijah was on the run from Ahab and Jezebel and he fled into wilderness. The angel of the Lord was present and cared for Elijah while he rested, ate and drank, slept some more, and then traveled forty days and nights through the wilderness to Horeb.

In a cave on Mount Horeb, “the word of the Lord came to him: ‘Why are you here, Elijah?” [1 Kings 19: 9]. A few verses later, after the wind and the earthquake, fire, and the whisper, God asks Elijah again: “Why are you here….” 1 Kings 19:13.

This passage is usually invoked in lessons on hearing God through the whisper, the “faint murmuring sound” that comes after the wind, the earthquake and the fire. The focus is usually on hearing God.

Recently, this verse came up in one of my own devotional readings and the phrase that jumped out at me was the question: “Why are you here?”

That’s a question that I began to struggle with in my mid-twenties, when “life” started taking me on unexpected detours. Sometimes I made choices that led me on the detour and sometimes the detour resulted from circumstances that were clearly not of my making nor within my control.

We all face detours like this and God is always with us. He never leaves and he will never forsake us. [Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5.] Whatever you may be going through, know and believe that God is showing up and He is there to hold you, guide you, and comfort you.

Not All Detours Are A “Waste of Time”

Some years ago, I clipped a column from a church newspaper about how life’s detours are often evidence of God taking care of us or moving us closer to the purpose he designed us for. I kept this article on my bulletin board for years as a reminder that what may seem like a detour to me may, in fact, be God’s more direct path to some better outcome He has planned.

Between the years of the lawnmower accident and my later adult life, God has shown up in my life every day, guiding me through the mundane of everyday life, protecting me in some quite-precarious “other situations” (too numerous to recount in this blog post), and comforting me at every turn.

He’s also been opening my heart and mind to a better understanding of what it means to TRUST GOD to be in control and direct me along His paths.

Whatever circumstance you are in, even if it’s a detour of your own making, God is present with you. He cares for you. He will not let your foot slip. He will bring you safely back. [Psalm 121]


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Sheree Martin is a lawyer, entrepreneur and digital media consultant. She’s on a mission to help others Discover, Grow and Shine. Sheree is mom to multiple furry creatures and aunt to three awesome young adults. She loves spending time outdoors, especially at Shine Springs Farm, doing anything fitness related, and cooking real food for friends and family.  Click her to read Sheree’s Breath on Paper bio.

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