Have you ever wanted to do something, but got frustrated because you were forced to wait?
Did you have a plan and, for one reason or another, had to put it on hold, or take a detour?
If you said yes, you aren’t alone.
I'm right there with you.
I was going to get married by the time I was 30 years old. Well, I was still single when I turned 30, so I changed my goal to 35. Guess what?
I got married at 44!
I was going to expand my business in 2008, but...
I shut it down in 2011.
For the last couple of years, I've been planning to make a trip to California to visit two good friends I haven’t seen in a long time.
I still haven’t made it there!
See, I told you. It happens to me, too.
This is a common thing, and something we expect in life. When it's someone else, like a friend or co-worker, who is upset because, for example, they didn't get the raise they put in for, we tell them it’s going to be okay, and that things will work out for the best.
But, when it happens to us, we get frustrated.
I’m going to give you a scripture from the Bible that caught my attention. It’s from Matthew, chapter 2. It tells the story of when Joseph, the Earthly father of Jesus, was told in a dream to take his family out of the region in which they lived and go to Egypt. God did this to protect Jesus from being killed by King Herod, the current ruler of that day. Herod had gotten word from his advisors that the future king had been born, and wanted to put an end to anything that threatened his plans. Here’s the scripture:
“…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” (Matthew 2:13b, NIV)
So, Joseph did as he was told—but he had no idea how long it would be before he could come back home.
Now comes the next part I want to share with you, from the same chapter of Matthew:
“So, he (Joseph) got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod…” (Matthew 2:14-15a, NIV)
While we can’t be sure of just how long they were there, it's possible Jesus’s family lived in Egypt for up to two years, waiting until it was safe to return home.
I've always wondered—why didn’t God didn’t just strike Herod dead if He wanted to protect Jesus? He could have done that.
Why did they have to take a detour at all?
Think about it. Joseph worked. He and Mary had friends. Leaving meant giving that up, without much notice, and taking an unplanned detour.
I've often been frustrated because I’ve had to wait for something to happen, or because it didn’t happen at all. But, when I have looked back—often after many years—I realized it worked out for the best.
If God’s own son was subject to detours in life, it’s safe to say you and I will be, too.
We won’t always know why, and we can’t always know what details God is working out behind the scenes. But, I can assure you, there is a good reason for it.
It won't always be easy. Sometimes, we can’t make sense of things, no matter how hard we try. But, here’s one thing you need to remember:
They’re going to happen, so we must be prepared to handle them. The next time you are forced to take your own trip to "Egypt", take a deep breath, relax, and start asking God to show you what He’s up to. He may not reveal everything, but if you keep asking Him, at the very least, you’ll start to feel at peace with what's going on.
Or, what isn’t.