Enough about the Road Less Traveled.
To worry about the road of life we should have taken is a waste of time. Whatever path we’re on, there’s a way of traveling that brings us to the right destination.
This way includes side trips. The side trip appears as a curve in the road or a veering off onto the shoulder. It can be a picturesque overlook or a shortcut we take to an unplanned place. It’s a place to dally before we get back on our original way.
The side trip caught my attention on a recent vacation to San Francisco. Fascinated by the cable cars, I watched as they smoothly made their way up and down the steep hills. Their path seemed inflexible. Cables directed the passenger cars down the middle of the thoroughfare.
And then I noticed it. Unlike a rigid train track, the cables actually bend so that the cars can pull close to the curb. They swerve to the side—to let on new passengers, or deposit weary travelers close to the sidewalk.
Knowing when to bend or get off the road is vital to taking a side trip. It’s like heading for the beach in Florida but stopping first in Alabama for Peach Park ice cream.
Small happenings along our path invite us to take a side trip. They can involve people or things outside our conventional notice that give us pause while we’re waiting for the big destination to arrive.
On my trip home from California, I was exhausted and depressed about the long flight ahead. As I entered the cabin, I looked for a possible flying companion and settled in between a friendly-looking lady and a talkative boy.
The boy, about ten, told me all about his four-wheeler, his new pony, his friends at school and their adventures at camp. It wasn’t long before he had me smiling and laughing at his small-town antics. The flight whizzed by, and soon, we shared a friendship and a glance out the window at the winding Tennessee River.
Meeting him was a side trip I hadn’t planned on, but it made me smile and know God was taking care of me, even at the lowest times.
In the Bible, there’s the story of Naaman, a highly-respected captain of the Aram army. A man who was physically superior and probably handsome. Yet he had one great flaw: leprosy. It’s possible this captain had exhausted every cure known to the ancient world in order to get rid of the terrible disease.
It wasn’t Naaman’s advisors, his soldiers, or his family members who helped him find a solution. It was a servant girl. The small, seemingly insignificant slave humbly pleaded, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
To his credit, mighty Naaman listened to the young girl, followed the advice of the prophet, Elijah, and was cured of his leprosy.
Sure, the big events in our life our worthy of our time, attention, and planning. Yet God works things out His way. We have to bend to his plans when there’s an unexpected curve in the road. And take time to notice the small things that give us further direction and sustenance for the path ahead. It’s on the side trips that we learn to trust, to rest, and relax in God’s grace.
(Have a favorite side trip you’d like to share? Post it in comments.)