“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14
One of the greatest advances in modern technology is without a doubt the GPS. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting in traffic because of an accident or roadwork, and my GPS rerouted me. It directed me off the highway onto some side streets as I wound around the traffic. At first it often seems like I’m going out of the way, but I always get to my destination and am able to avoid the traffic and congestion at the same time.
Have you ever had this happen to you in your relationship with God? Have you been headed down one route, but then you hit and roadblock, and He ends up rerouting you and leading you a different way? Sometimes this change in direction makes sense because you felt stuck on the path you had been walking down previously. But other times, it seems like God is leading you to take a route that seems to lead in a completely different direction than where you want to go. You look like you’re going to go totally out of the way.
But just like your GPS always takes you to the right destination, God is faithful to take you to the destination that lines up best with His will for your life. Or as Proverbs 16:9 reminds us, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
God led the exiled Jews to stay in Babylon for an extended period of time rather than taking them immediately to Jerusalem like they planned. He rerouted His people on a bit of a detour. But this detour proved to be just one way for God to teach His people to trust Him, even when they didn’t understand His methods. Let’s not miss this opportunity to learn from this historical account as well, and trust God’s detours in our own lives.