As a native Chicagoan, I’ve flown into O’Hare Airport more times than I can count. Sometimes, when the plane is coming in from the west, the pilot takes a curious route. Instead of heading straight to the airport, the plane passes over the city and heads east, out over Lake Michigan. To those not familiar with this pattern, flying over the lake brings some dreadful questions. “Why did we fly right by the airport? Are we out of control? Will we be landing in the lake?” Eventually, the plane will make a series of turns, head west and land safely at the airport.
When chasing a dream, we often take alternate routes like this one. We’ve been working so hard, concentrating on the destination. Just when it appears to be in sight, God bypasses around our goal. And sometimes, God takes us over rough waters instead of seeing us safely to our objective. It can be so frustrating.
I believe God plans detours in our slow march to our dreams. It isn’t because He doesn’t love us. It is because He loves us beyond belief. He doesn’t want us to just achieve our dream; He wants us to grow in character, to become more God-like, to see His glory in every step on the way to our destination. He wants our journeys to be more about what we might do for Him, rather than what might be in it for ourselves. God desires we remain focused on every step of the journey so we can feel and appreciate His power, love and wisdom.
When I face a painful detour, I spend too much time focusing on the negatives. But if I take a step back and examine the path God has planned for me, I can also spot all the gifts He showers along the way. I see the friends who have backed me up, the prayers offered over me, but more importantly the opportunities for spiritual maturity as I trust God with my life.
It is hard work, but in the difficult no’s, in the unexpected changes and in the bumpy roads, God wipes away our tears. He cups our broken hearts. And when we wail loudly from the pain, He answers, “I know you hurt. I’m stimulating growth in your life.” Isaiah 43:19 states: Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?
If you find yourself in a difficult spot, in the place of discouragement and doubt, if you feel like a dream has passed you by, take a step back and count a blessing. See the love in the face of a friend. Enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Find a quiet place and pray in order to hear Him gently whisper back to you, “I came for you. I came to hold you. I want to carry you, to save you.”
Until you see your dream fulfilled, the work can be tough and lonely at times. But do the rare and wonderful thing: allow the tough times to help you experience the love of Jesus in new, different and exciting ways. Find a gift in each moment, step forward with the belief that God really does know best and His plan is truly perfect – even if you have trouble seeing that today.