My March Book Recommendation is Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny by Tony Evans.
I was introduced to this book through the Proverbs 31 Ministries devotionals; Tony was a guest writer in January and the devotional really resonated with me so I purchased his book. I am so glad that I did because it was phenomenal! Here is the quote in the devotional that stood out to me, “Detours are unanticipated routes that take us another way to our destiny. Detours are designed for our own good, regardless how we view or feel about them. They are good things that often feel bad. This is because it’s in our detours that we’re developed for our destiny.” I love this!! Our character is developed in the detours! Even though they feel frustrating or negative at the time, God is developing our character in the middle of them. We are learning patience, gratitude, compassion for others, and how to live fully dependent of God. Tony says, “God is not going to bring your destiny to fruition until He knows that you are able to handle it spiritually, emotionally, and physically. If you cannot handle it, you will lose it rather than use it for His glory. That is why He focuses so intently on our development as He takes us to our destiny.” Now can you see what I loved this book- such great truth and perspective to have when life takes a detour.
Tony takes us through the life of Joseph in this book. If ever there was someone who went through many detours in life, it was Joseph. He went from the pit to prison to the palace. Along the way, God grew Joseph and developed his character. Honestly, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about Joseph in this book; he started out as a prideful young man bragging to his brothers about his coat of many colors. The brothers in an act of jealousy threw Joseph into a pit and then sold him as a slave. Then through a series of detours in Joseph’s life, God began to chisel away and refine him, growing him through the hard time times he experienced. After 22 years, Joseph came face to face with his brothers again, this time though he was a complete different man. He was humble, patient, compassionate and forgiving- all character traits he learned through his detours. Joseph was able to look into the eyes of those same brothers and say, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen 50:20) Wow- so amazing!
The book has so many great truths in it and I honestly loved each chapter. I cannot share it all with you so I want to end with one of my favorite stories from the book! There was a man who was ready to give up on God; he had been in a detour too long and lost all hope. Listen to this powerful story:
The man who told God he quit decided to go to the woods to have one last conversation with the Lord. “God, You disappointed me,” this man said. “You’ve got me stuck out here and I don’t know why. I don’t know how long I’m going to have to stay here in this situation before my change is coming. I’m ready to give up-unless you do something or say something right now.”
Just at that very moment, the heaven opened, and a voice spoke to the man. It said, “Look around and tell Me what you see.”
The man looked around and told the voice from heave that he saw ferns growing in a pot and also some bamboo. The voice from heaven replied, “Exactly. Now let me tell you about the ferns and the bamboo.” The man perked up his ears to listen intently.
“When the fern seed was planted, the ferns grew up very quickly, and they became lush and green and beautiful. But when the bamboo seeds were planted, nothing grew at all during its first year. Same thing with the second year. And the third. And the fourth. It wasn’t until the fifth year that the very first small shoot of bamboo came up.”
Then the voice from heaven paused, allowing that reality to sink in. Then continued with a question, “How tall is the bamboo you are looking at?”
The man answered, “At least a hundred feet tall.”
“You are right,” the voice from heave said. “And the reason bamboo is a hundred feet tall is because during the five years when you saw nothing, it was growing deep on the inside. It was growing strong, deep roots down beneath the surface where you cannot see. The reason why it was going deeper first is because I knew I had planned for it to eventually be over a hundred feet tall. It knew how high I planned to take it, and in order for it to sustain that height, it would have to grow deeper inside where no one could see anything at all.”
WOW- I love this story! God is trying to grow us deeper because He has big plans for us! Tony says this, “Friend, if God is taking a long time with you on your detour, it is because He is trying to take you deeper on the inside first. He is trying to develop and strengthen you to sustain the destiny in store. His plan for you is high. His calling for you is tall. His purpose for you will one day soar. But just as you can’t build a skyscraper on a chicken-coop foundation, you can’t place a divine destiny on a shallow soul. The higher your mountains, the deeper your valleys will seem. And difficult roads often lead to the most magnificent destinations.”
I don’t know about you but this gives me amazing hope! All the hard times and detours and struggles and pain are deepening our faith. They are growing strong deep roots in us so that God can take us higher than we ever imagined. He wants us to soar! He wants us all to get to this magnificent destination He has planned for us! Ladies, do not give up hope along the way when the detour is long and you feel discouraged. Keep focused on the fact that God is developing your character! He loves you so much!
Dear God, When life takes us on a detour, please help us have this bigger perspective. Please remind us of the 100 foot tall bamboo and that you are working on the inside of us, giving us depth! God, sometimes though, detours are hard and can feel hopeless. I pray for my friends who are in the middle of one and need encouragement. I pray they feel your comfort, your love, and your peace. God, thank you that you are always with us! Thank you for continuing to develop our character and guide us to our destiny. In Jesus name, Amen.