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Devotional: The Detours of Life

I was reading in Exodus this morning and came across a few simple sentences that were a powerful reminder that sometimes God leads us on detours in life that usually don’t make sense at first, but He always has a reason.

“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them on the road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest way from Egypt to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them along a route through the wilderness toward the Red Sea, and the Israelites left Egypt like a marching army. Exodus 13:17

God took the Israelites on the longer route for a reason. He knew what was ahead for them on the shorter path, so He graciously protected them from it. God knew the detour was in their best interest, even though it wasn’t the shortest way to their destination. What a great lesson for us!

  • Sometimes in life, God will lead us on what looks like a detour simply because He is protecting us from something we can’t see.
  • The detour is usually always slower–it’s not the fasted path to our goal–but that allows God time to teach us in the wilderness.
  • God can see my whole journey through life, He knows the best and safest route for me to take.
  • Even when we don’t understand, or feel frustrated or saddened with the detour, we can rest in His loving guidance.
  • Instead of complaining, what if we looked for the opportunity in the detour?
  • Sometimes the shortest path to our goal isn’t what’s best for us.

Those are just a few of my takeaways from this simple detail of the story in Exodus. But isn’t is amazing how God puts detours in our path to protect us from things we can’t see? Or to lead us to something even better than we imagined. I started thinking back on all the “detours” I’ve experienced in my life and I just had to pause and thank the good Lord for loving me enough guide me, change my direction, and lead me in new ways even when I didn’t understand it at the time.

I can see now just how much I needed the detours. And it encourages me to find rest in the assurance that God’s got my back. I can relax and let Him guide me.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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The Comments

  • Bethany
    March 27, 2024

    So good!
    This insight reminds me a lot of the book “Wild Goose Chase” by Mark Batterson. As long as we are chasing after God, the path is never wrong.

  • Sharis Norris
    March 27, 2024

    Thank you for another powerful devotional, Sarah. God is blessing you with a keen observation of the scriptures that you then so eloquently share with us. Hope you and yours have a blessed Easter. ~

  • Caylee M
    March 27, 2024

    Thank you for this reminder. I recently began to see that past hardships and things I regret were actually put in my path for a reason. They altered my course in a way that opened my eyes and protected me and my family from evil I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

  • Darla
    March 27, 2024

    Such a wonderful God we have! Thank you for this reminder that His ways are always perfect! Trusting Him even when we don’t yet understand can bring us a peace that only He provides.🤍

  • Angie
    March 27, 2024

    Sarah, thank you so much for sharing this. My husband and I have been praying for six months about whether or not to leave his good 24 year job and move to another state in order to get closer to our adult kids. In 3 days (our pre-determined decision deadline), I’m planning on just being unified with what my husband thinks is the right thing to do. Happened upon this devotional and it was timely and encouraging! A great confirmation that ultimately, it’s the Lord Himself who determines our footsteps, for His good purpose, plan and glory. 🙂

  • Grisell Arana
    March 27, 2024

    Thank for this.

  • Sharon goins
    March 27, 2024


  • Gee
    March 27, 2024

    Very nice!

  • Mary Bennett
    March 28, 2024

    Sarah – I am 74 years and have followed you for a couple years. In one of your blogs you mentioned you had not read the Bible completely through. I had decided it was my time to do it, so I just finished Genises, when you had finished it. I have not started Exodus, but your encouraging words have spurred me forward.
    Thank you for your encouraging words and your faithfulness to God.
    PS. My son and his family also live in Colorado. I think that is why I started watching you. I have not been able to travel the last 15 years because of an accident. So I rely on the Internet for many reasons.
    Keep up the great inspiration!!