20140810_122833The woman looking at my paperwork glanced up and verified my hometown. “How’d you get here to South Dakota?” she said, almost in passing.

Picturing the miles between where I started and where I ended up, I smiled and said simply, “Via some back roads.”

Isn’t that the case more often than not? How often do we set about to do something and end up in a completely unexpected place?

As I got thinking more about back roads, I began to see ways God has used them to bring me closer to His plan.

God’s Detours

Ever had a dream derailed? I have.

I was chugging down the highway of Writerdom pretty well, thank you, until derailment happened. I careened off the highway, into the ditch, across a field, through a farmer’s fence, and onto a dirt road. There was no way to get back to where I was going except to go forward and see where the dirt road led.

The road led farther than I anticipated. There were pot holes. There were intersections. There were blind corners. But those miles and miles of back roads didn’t lead just anywhere. They led to where I’m meant to be.

A year and half later, I think of the place I thought I was going on that highway. And I laugh. Because that destination doesn’t exist. Dirt roads taught me that my dream and I needed to get dirty sometimes, that it would require tears and isolation, and that even the hardest journey with one small, redefined dream is better than the smoothest journey with a fantasy.

Today, the back roads still stretch on, but I have no plans to seek another route. Of all the potholes and judder bars so far, the best ones have been those that bumped my heart into the place where God needs it to be. It wouldn’t have budged on the smooth roads. He knew it needed some jostling. A lot of jostling. Always has and, unfortunately, does still.

So, I’m grateful for God’s back roads. For the potholes. For the cloak of dirt on dented fenders. When a life is surrendered to God, every aspect of ourselves becomes subject to God’s detours. But every mile and every bump moves us closer to Him and His perfect will. And because it’s His will that is the driving force, it’s no wonder the journey doesn’t lead where we think it should.

No matter what, His destination via bumpy back roads will be better than any map we could chart.

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