Years ago when our sons were small, Steve, I, and the boys were traveling by car to Florida for a family vacation. Most times, we would pack the car, wait until about 7 pm and drive straight through the night to our Orlando destination. However, on this particular trip, traffic was moving slowly due to an accident, so after driving hours, we had only gone about one hundred miles. Assessing the situation, we knew we would not be able to make it the entire trip without stopping overnight. This detour was not in our plans, either time-wise or financially. Living on a small pastor’s income at that time, we were counting every penny.
In those days, you couldn’t go on an App and make a reservation at your favorite hotel before you arrived, or even see what was available that would be acceptable to your standards, which were pretty high, I might add. By the time we decided to stop for the night, we were on a stretch of highway that had little to offer in the way of motels, so we chose the first one we saw and stopped. It wasn’t a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express. This hotel had a name we didn’t recognize, and each room had an outside entrance.
Steve went into the small lobby and reserved a room, while we waited in the car. With the key in hand, we found our designated motel room, and entered what I would call the “no-tell motel.” While I was exhausted, I was not blind to what I saw. This room appeared old, dirty, and the bathtub stained with rust. When I looked at the bed, I noticed the spot for coins, located on the headboard. If you put coins in the headboard, the bed would vibrate. I’m not kidding. It was bad.
This detour occurred in the days before I ever traveled overseas and slept in far worse conditions. My world was “safe” at that time and predicable, and mentally, I was unprepared for this moment. Therefore, I was a total mess. “We can’t stay here,” I protested, but there was nowhere to go. My mental state had to wrap my mind around this reality and adapt quickly. Why? Two little boys depended on their mom and dad for safety and security. Whatever my “feelings” were, my mind had to rise above this detour.
Presently, we are facing a detour that none of us like. Life, as we know it, has stopped and we are in a time of detour, that we didn’t want or expect. For me, living through the first two weeks was doable as I worked at home. However, facing at least another month of this has been unsettling. How about you?
I have been reading through the Chasing Truth Bible plan for 2020, and right now, in the book of Deuteronomy, is the account of the Israelites coming out of the wilderness they have experienced for forty years. They are ready to be led into the Promised Land by Joshua. In Deuteronomy 2:7, you find these words:
“For the Lord, your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’
After forty years, looking back with perspective, Moses said those words. After going through everything that happened in their forty-year detour, this was his conclusion. Wow! Drop the mic!
Looking back gives you a 20/20 perspective. We will have stories to tell when this COVID-19 Pandemic is over. But right now, how do we face this detour with grace?
Reject what you hear that instills fear.
Your mind is a battlefield, as Joyce Meyer says. There is so much information coming at us right now, that if you wanted to, you could spend twenty-four hours a day just watching and reading the news and updates. However, if you do that, and neglect filling your mind with the Word of God, you will live in fear. There’s not a whole lot of good news out there! What does the Word of God say to fear?
“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalms 94:19 (NLT)
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
If there has ever been a time to get control of your thought life, it is NOW. Think about what we know is right. Read and study the WORD of God because it brings life to our soul. There is no other way to get through this!
We are to live in HOPE, not MOPE!
“And his name will be the hope of all the world.” Matthew 12:21 (NLT)
“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:19 (NLT)
If there was ever a moment for you to shine, it is now! When we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we know the HOPE GIVER. He is the giver and sustainer of life, and our lives are eternal. This scripture in Hebrews, written to Jews, who were not permitted to enter the “inner sanctuary.” Reserved for the high priest only, the writer is letting them know that because of Jesus giving His life for the sins of you and me, we can now come boldly into the throne of grace.
“So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
Stop and breathe, and don’t be afraid to walk boldly into God’s arms and rest awhile. He will give you the grace you need for this moment. He is the HOPE giver!
That night in the hotel room, I had to determine in my mind, that what was in that room, would not be in me. The room felt depressing, dark, and scary. I remember telling myself, “this is just a detour and not your destination.” We slept that night in the less than perfect room, dirty and scary as it seemed to me. We did not take a bath in the crazy stained bathtub, and the vibrating part of the bed was not used. The night ended, and the sun came up. In the morning, we got up and headed to our destination. The detour was over. Years later, our boys, who are now men, remember that motel and laugh at the memory of the vibrating bed and the stained bathtub.
The truth is, what you survive helps you to thrive. Every experience in our lives, even the ones we do not desire, help up to become who God intends us to be. While I cannot say how long this pandemic will last, I do know that it will pass. Our lives are being stretched in ways we didn’t expect, but we will get through this time and THRIVE. This is just a detour.
Keep filling your mind with TRUTH and choose HOPE today!
Traveling with you!