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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Mitchell

But God

I don't know where you live or if you're as familiar with road work as I am but, iykyk. It's a hassle. Multiple lanes merging into one lane. Reduced speed limit. Traffic jams. And maybe the worst part- detours. Ugh, detours. The things that can turn a 20 minute drive into a 45 minute drive. The things that can cause you to get lost by having to go off the beaten path to get to your destination. The things that you don't expect to encounter and almost always make you late if you have to take one. The things that interrupt your path from point A to point B and can sometimes change our plans altogether. No one loves a detour. No one seeks out a detour purposefully choosing to delay their plans, but many times we must take them as an alternate way of getting where we want to go- whether we understand the purpose of them or not.

Spiritually speaking, there can be divine detours in our lives that, just like physical detours on the road, we may not understand, choose, or enjoy. Detours that alter our plans and possibly change our destination. Detours that cause anxiety and frustration. Detours that we don't schedule and can't see coming. Detours that interrupt where we think we should be or go and that leave us feeling lost and confused- maybe in a place we were once very familiar with. In my personal walk with the Lord, when I have experienced these detours, one of the first things I say is, "But God,..." Usually, "But God, I already know that- why are you showing me this again?" Or "But God, I love x,y,z. Why are you taking that?" "But God, I don't want to ______. Why can't I just _________ instead?" "But God, this isn't fair. You said you are good and this doesn't feel good." "But God, I'm doing the right thing. Why is this still happening?"

If there is a "But God,..." to be said, it's likely that I've said it.

Every time God tells me to write, speak, or teach on something, it is 100%, always, every time something that He and I have worked or are working through. One of the most beautiful aspects of the Christian life is that God always, always uses our pasts, regrets, failures, and disobedience for our good, the good of others, and His glory when we surrender them. This concept of divine detours is no different. When He first gave me the title of "But God" I did not realize the two-fold ways He was leading me to write about. Because there is a "But God," aspect and then there is a "But, God" aspect. They are not the same. As I share what He's shown me, I pray that you too will see the difference and trust that His timing, detours, and plans really, truly are always better.

Some of those "But God,..." statements I gave examples of earlier are real words I've really said to God when I really didn't like how His detours were interrupting my plans. If we're honest, none of us like to have our plans changed. We think we know what's best, and we set our hearts on things that may never be in God's will for us. And His detours are always an act of love. He is not mean or cruel for derailing our plans when He knows that they are not good for us. A loving God will detour anything He deems necessary to get our attention, to protect us, and to prevent us from the destruction that comes from walking outside of His will. But there are occasions where He will not detour us- where He will allow us to have what we think we want or to go where we think we want to go so that we will see for ourselves that it is not what is best for us. That too is an act of mercy from Him that we usually can't grasp until later on down the road.

When I was 20 years old, my dad died of lung cancer after having been diagnosed with it less than 3 months prior to his death. There were many prayers prayed on his behalf for healing, but that isn't how God chose to answer those prayers. It can be so very hard for us to think that anything but healing could be a better outcome for someone we love that is suffering so much. My prayers in that season did not hit the ceiling, however. They were answered in ways so much more beautifully than I could have even asked. I knew the Lord, but my father did not. And as soon as the word "cancer" came out of the doctor's mouth, my very first thought was that he was lost and however this turned out, he needed to know the Lord more than he needed anything else. And so that became my utmost prayer as God showed up in unimaginable ways in those days. "But God, I love my dad. I need him." "But God, what are we going to do?" "But God, You healed people in the Bible so can't you just heal him, too?" So many "But Gods," that I could tell you, but those aren't what really matters in this story. It is the many "But, Gods" that I want you to see. But, God did not allow my dad to suffer long. But, God revealed the gospel to both of my parents for the very first time in my entire life after his diagnosis. But, God provided an insurance policy that we didn't even know existed to cover funeral expenses that we never could have afforded otherwise. But, God showed my family what the body of Christ looks like and how we are to pray, love, and serve one another in times of need. But, God gave us 2.5 months of precious time with my dad after his diagnosis that we never would have grasped to be that precious without it. But, God walked with me in one of the hardest trials of my life to make Himself known to me like I may not have otherwise ever known. But, God showed me that He loved my dad more than I loved my dad, and that surrendering his future to Him would set me free from a burden that I was never meant to carry. But, God. A detour I'll never be able to thank Him enough for.

There was a season of my life in walking with the Lord that I began to not really walk as closely with Him as I had before. I drifted. I strayed. I walked in rebellion. I intentionally chose my way over His. For about a year, I did exactly what I wanted to do and not one time did I truly ask God, acknowledge God, or seek God. This was a season of "But Gods" that sounded like "But God, I don't want to." "But God, I'm not going to do that." "But God, I want to do this." "But God, you said you'll forgive me." "But God, everyone else is doing it." "But God, I just need a little relief." "But God, it feels good." "But God, I'm not hurting anyone." Because even when we walk in rebellion, if we are a child of God, He still speaks. He still convicts. We have a choice as to whether or not we listen to His voice or act on His conviction, but He doesn't stop pursuing us just because we've stopped pursuing Him. That is not who He is. All of my "But Gods" in that season were selfish, manipulative, and came from a hardened heart. I was hurt and broken, and I was seeking ways of mending that brokenness other than Jesus- of which there are none- in case you want to try. And that is an exhausting way to live. I look back on that year and it seems like it was so much longer in hindsight, but I can see now the danger I was walking in and my gratitude for God snatching me back from it is too great for words. So as He kept pursuing and convicting, I eventually listened. I got to the end of my rope when I had no where left to go and guess what? He was still there. He hadn't left- it was me that left. He did not free me from the consequences of the sin I chose in that season, but He did set me free from the weight of carrying it all. The bitterness. The hurt. The brokenness that I tried to mend without His help. The shame from the enemy that he tries to trap us in to keep us from seeking God in our failures. The guilt. Too many lessons learned the hard way in that season, but my "But Gods" turned to "But, Gods" and He brought me out of that pit and used it for His glory- that's what I want you to hear.

But, God took away every person and everything that I was depending on or seeking satisfaction in so that I could see He is the only true source. But, God helped me to stop judging people for things they did that I had never done because now I had done them too, and allowed me to see them as He sees them. But, God gave me a huge part of my testimony that now allows me to minister to people that I otherwise could not have reached. But, God revealed a lot of false traditions and ideas I had about Him and showe me the truth of His word. But, God protected me physically from so many consequences that I know I should have received from my choices that cannot be explained any other way- but God. But, God it only lasted a year- a long time to walk in sin but such a short time compared to the rest of my life. But, God. My heart is overwhelmed by His goodness.

Divine detours. Those are the "But, Gods" I hope you see here. They are where He intercedes on our behalf and says, "No more. Not My son. Not My daughter. Not another generation. Not another day. Not another lie, Satan. Not that way. We're not living like that anymore. I know you want that, but I have so much more in store for you. I know you thought you had it figured out, but My plan is better. I know this is going to hurt, but you will be better because of it. I know you think I'm unfair, but just wait until you see what I'm going to give you later." What we think is an interruption is actually a redirection. What we think is going to stall our journey is actually rerouting us to a place so much greater than we could have ever chosen for ourselves.

A detour is defined as "a longer, less direct way to get where you're going." Praise God that He will take us the longer route when He knows the shorter route will ruin us! Praise God that He will lead us off the beaten path because He knows that the gate is narrow and few find it! Praise God that His detours take us places we could never take ourselves! Praise God that He wrecks our plans so that they don't wreck us! Praise God that He sees the big picture when we can only see right here and right now! Praise God that His way is always better even if we think it's a detour!

I don't expect you take my word for this, nor do I advise you to take anyone's word as Truth without seeking the Truth for yourself- so let's look at some "But Gods" in Scripture to see that He's always been about divine detours in the lives of His people!

  • Genesis 31:4-5 "I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my fathe has been with me."

  • Philippians 2:27 "Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him, but on me also."

  • 2 Timothy 2:19 "But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His."

  • Genesis 48: 21 "Then Isreal said to Joseph, "Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers."

  • Genesis 8:1 "But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark..."

  • Genesis 50:20 "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."

  • Romans 11:22 "Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness..."

  • Exodus 13:18 "But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Isreal went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle."

  • 1 Samuel 23: 14 "....and Saul sought him (David) everyday, but God did not give him into his hand."

  • James 4:6 "But He (God) gives more grace..."

I could go on and on... my prayer is that you will allow the Lord to direct your steps, even in- especially in- His detours. They are always for our good and His glory. He knows best and He can be trusted. Thank You, Lord, for your divine detours. My heart is so grateful.


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Beech Crew
Beech Crew
Apr 21

So good !

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