Sunday, January 12, 2020

Nancy Hughes: When God has a detour

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord,
endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.”
Psalm 138:8 (NIV)

It took me a few minutes to calm my shaking fingers and get my courage up to open the email. It was from a children’s editor with a very well-known publishing company and I knew she was responding to my proposal on my latest children’s book, a rhyming story about creation.

I had retired from a job I loved because I felt the Lord nudging me to speak and write full time. This book being published would be a huge confirmation of that nudging.

I opened the email to find that yes, the editor loved the book. And yes, it had made it through the submissions and editorial meetings! Now it was on to the sales team.

“Thank You, Lord! Thank you so much!” I shouted the praise in my office. This was definitely a door opening for my passion for writing. I dared to dream big: traveling, television interviews, promoting this book plus my other writings, praising the Lord for what He was doing through each word.

I hate to fly but I imagined myself jetting to New York or L.A. to do interviews about “small town girl writes for a big God.” I was so sure of the outcome that I even shared my news with a couple of my closest friends.

A week went by followed by another and another. No emails with a contract attached. And yet I was not really discouraged because I knew this journey was being directed by the Lord. The book would be published, I was sure.

And then an email. From the editor. She loved the book and how the story was presented, she said. But the sales team had decided not to publish it. Thanks but no thanks.

I read and re-read the email. Maybe I missed something when I read it so hurriedly. But no. It was a polite but firm “no thank you.”

Wait a minute, God! I’ve known for years that this is the path you have wanted for me – writing and speaking. I am sure of it – 100% sure. And yet the answer is no?

Have you been there? You knew that you were doing exactly what the Lord had directed you to do. No doubts. No second guessing. And then the path is blocked, the gate is locked, the door is slammed shut. And you start to wonder if you heard Him correctly when you prayed. What in the world?

I love the encouragement David shares in Psalm 138:8. I have no idea what was going on in his life as he wrote those words, but I love his confidence in knowing that (1) God had a purpose for him; (2) God would fulfill that purpose; and (3) God’s love for David was eternal.

I have no WOW answers, my friends. Only a belief and trust in a Father whose timing is not mine, but who fully intends to fulfill His purpose for me when – and only when – He is ready.

Can you relate? You prayed about the new job that suddenly falls through, the relationship that falls apart, and the bottom falls out of your world. Answers do not come as you were confident they would. As you felt the Lord was directing. And you are wondering why.

I understand that questioning. And yet, just because that part of our plans didn’t work out does not mean that God is not in control or that we are wrong about His plans for us.

Perhaps there are other people the Lord is working on with your plan. There may be a lesson we need to learn about trusting Him through the detours in our lives.

There will temporary or permanent detours in our journey with the Lord. But His purpose stands firm. He will fulfill His work in our lives – even when we don’t understand. Trust the One whose love for us endures forever – even in detours.

Father, I’m not sure why your direction for my life has taken a turn totally opposite from how I felt you were directing. But I trust you to complete your plan in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever felt the Lord directing you specifically and yet, when you followed His direction, things turned out completely different than you thought?


Journal the plans in your life that you were sure came from the Lord but did not work out as you had thought. Next journal how they actually turned out.
Write down the blessings and lessons you learned in the detours. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness.


Psalm 138:8 (NIV) “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “. . . being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stop listening to voices in your head and your life won't be derailed on the regular?