Mentoring Ministry

Providing biblical teaching resources for the next generation.


Have you ever been in a car that came upon a barrier in the road with a “detour” sign on it? If so, when you came upon it, you were forced to turn off the road and follow the detour signs. This usually resulted in a delay in your arrival at your destination. It also may have taken you down bumpy, less comfortable, unfamiliar roads. I know when this has happened to me, my tendency was to become impatient and irritated at the delay. This occurred because I felt my plan to arrive when I expected and on the road I preferred could not be fulfilled. My attitude was not anything of which God would approve.

Life and ministry can often be compared to driving down a road filled with detours. Our best plans and expectations can be met with barriers and changes in direction that we never anticipated or desired. Our natural reactions to these detours in life can be the same as if we were turning onto a detour in the road. Discomfort, disappointment, irritation, uncertainty and even fear can fill our hearts because of these unexpected changes. However, the truth is that God never promised us a smooth path on which to travel through our years. If we could always be assured of nothing surprising, we would become complacent and have no need for faith. We would also have very little need for personal growth. God knows this. (I often say, “There are no surprises in heaven, only good surprises from heaven.”) Though God is not always the cause of life’s detours, you can be assured that, within them, He will provide you with the potential for incredible opportunities to build your faith and experience personal growth.

Understanding God’s will for all His children will help you focus on His will for you. Once you do understand this, two things will change your perspective about the detours you may be experiencing. First, it is God’s will to watch over you with every step you take. Knowing this will help you find the strength to overcome the feelings that will try to dominate you while on the detour. You can turn the feelings of discomfort, disappointment and all that accompanies them into the joy of the Lord. You can have an expectation that God has a plan for something good that is greater than your detour. Second, your belief in God’s abilities to fulfill His Word will strengthen you. You will find   the bumpy circumstances you are experiencing cannot stop you. These two changes in your perspective will lead you to press your faith into action. Doing so will cause your outlook on life to effectively take you through the detour to your destination. When you arrive, you will be changed. You will be well able to cope with what awaits you there. As you can see, detours are the learning-laboratories of life. Every detour has within it the potential for God to put something divinely sourced and special inside of you. He could never do this while you were on that smooth, uneventful road you just left.

Let me validate what I have shared with Scripture. The Apostle Paul’s prayer for his Colossian brothers and sisters in Colossians 1:9-14 provides this validation. It can be a life changing prayer. Apply Paul’s prayer to yourself in the midst of whatever discomfort the experience of unexpected change is bringing you. Read these Scriptures carefully. Read them prayerfully!

Colossians 1:9-14 (NKJV) “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; {10} that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; {11} strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; {12} giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. {13} He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, {14} in whom we have redemption through His blood, [a] the forgiveness of sins.”

The Apostle’s prayer has some indisputable and reassuring truths that you can apply right now to your circumstances. These truths will explain why God allows the detour upon which you find yourself and are now experiencing. I will list these truths very briefly, but I encourage you to take the time to meditate on each of them and apply them to your situation. (If you are not currently on a detour, be assured you will be at some time in life. Today, Colossians 1:9-14 can equip you to minister to those who are.) Here are the truths that will set you free and keep you moving toward your destiny.

  1. The difficulties you face can be the very things that fill you with the knowledge of God’s will. They can form the well from which you draw divinely sourced “wisdom and spiritual understanding.” It is important to understand they hold within them this valuable opportunity for growth and maturity.
  2. The experiences you have at each bump in the road on your detour can provide the opportunity to be “fruitful in every good work.” Be assured that the bumps in your life will provide ample opportunity for doing good things to demonstrate your faith and determination. This will happen whether you are just going into the bump or on the way out.
  3. There are no substitutes for your personal experiences. (Another of my favorite sayings is, “You can argue with many things, but never with a person’s personal experience.”) All experiences, whether good or not, offer you the gift of “increasing in the knowledge of God.”  Be sure you do not neglect this gift when circumstances offer it to you.
  4. Detours are the best teachers of the meaning of strength and patience. Be a good student. Let the detours teach you what only they can. In verse 11, the Apostle wrote this about strength and patience: “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;” Notice that detours afford the opportunity to be strengthened according to God’s “glorious power.”  This power has no limitations. It is devil-busting power! Its purpose, according to Paul’s words, is to empower your ability to be joyful in the midst of patiently enduring your detours. It is the power to get past the detours as a winner and champion for Jesus. My experience has taught me that frustration with my detours required supernaturally sourced patience that my flesh could not provide. The Spirit of God faithfully gave it to me, and I had joy!

These four truths ought to make you shout. Go ahead and shout! Didn’t that feel good? Jesus is faithful. He will perform His Word over every detour you encounter. The detours will become faith and character-building places where you meet with God and leave the encounter shouting. Yes, I get excited when I think about God’s sovereignty over my life. I know you feel the same. You truly are a winner and a champion for Jesus. Start shouting like one. Start believing like one. Start acting like one.

I will leave you with two final thoughts from Scripture. First, all things really do work together for good because our detours provide the raw materials from which we are “conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:28-29) Second, because we recognize our detours to be the ground upon which this happens, we become “in all things, more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Now, go out and be the champion for Jesus that you are. Give the devil a headache… and shout while you do it!