Detoured But Not Deserted
Finding God's Presence at Every Bend in the Road by: Dr. David Jeremiah

If we could map our routes through life, we would opt for a smooth ribbon of freeway, with no bumps, construction zones, or detours. But life has a way of taking unexpected turns—forcing us to take alternate routes.

A few years ago, at a routine doctor's examination, I was diagnosed with lymphoma—a cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. Without warning, my life took a serious and unplanned detour. It came out of left field, unannounced, and unexpected. In that moment, I knew the road ahead would not be easy.

These kinds of moments confront us with life's harshest realities. They force us to move in directions we never wanted to go and would have gone to great lengths to avoid because they are characterized by pain and suffering. They confront us in the form of death, divorce, illness, disease, accidents and more. Most of the time they change our lives forever.

But friend, no matter what we are facing as we look down that long stretch of road, God offers hope.

During our darkest moments, God is there. When we are at our lowest point, a place where even those closest to us cannot walk with us, it is God who walks at our side. "Yea, thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me," declares Psalm 23:4.

In the depths of discouragement, when we're so depressed we're ready to flee all human companionship, God is the only One who will not let us go. "Where can I go from your Spirit?" David ponders in Psalm 139:7-10. "Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me."

So how do we feel the presence of God when we so desperately need it—when we feel devastated and deserted? The psalmist tells us that in our very lowest moments, God's Word has power to refresh us. "My soul clings to the dust," he says. "Revive me according to Your word." (Psalm 119:25).

When we read the Bible through the lens of pain, we see God's handwriting with fresh, poignant meaning. His words can breathe hope back into our damaged lives.

Our sufferings do matter to God. In fact, Scripture tells us we are exceedingly precious in His sight. Zechariah 2:8 says, "He who touches you touches the apple of His eye."

Many of he sufferings that come our way are not from the hands of God; they only pass through His hands. And in that passing, God takes full measure of them. He takes careful note of any pain being inflicted on the apple of His eye.

As God permits pain in the lives of His children, He also bestows equal measures of grace never experienced outside of suffering. Heartache can result in intimacy with God. In trials and tragedies, we enter into a fellowship with Christ's sufferings.

You can't always prepare for life's disruptive moments nor can you always avoid them. You may never even discover the answers to all your questions. But this you can know: God is with you. He wants to wrap you in His presence where you can feel His love. And, as you take an unexpected detour, no matter how deserted you may feel, you'll discover grace you never knew before. That grace will take you through your journey.

This article was taken from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's bi-monthly Devotional Magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.

If you enjoyed this article, we'd like to recommend Dr. Jeremiah's book and series entitled A Bend in the Road, a collection of hope and comfort for anyone going through a bend in the road.

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