Orange and White Barrels
Van Walton

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths… I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 (NIV)

Last spring I monotonously approached my neighborhood exit where a newly posted sign announced that I could not make my normal left turn. Lined up on the road as far as I could see around the bend was a neatly laid row of orange and white barrels. Road construction had interrupted my usual routine.

My daily plans would now be detoured due to the construction. Faced with this disruption that would surely put a kink in my life, I felt agitated and even hit the steering wheel with my fist. I would have to design new ways to reach my destinations and I wasn’t happy about it.

One day when construction was completed enough to allow some through traffic, I turned left and surveyed the sights. I couldn’t believe what I saw. No more lovely forest. Gone were the inviting trails into the woods. Decades-old wooden fences and bridges had disappeared. Honestly, the place resembled the combined affects of earthquake and fire. That whole summer I rolled up to the intersection with its orange and white barrels, and it triggered in me negative thoughts and feelings.

Soon after, my life was more seriously interrupted. A disturbing phone call forced me to drop everything. The bad news exploded like a bomb - my heart and mind quaked with emotion. Spiritual frustration filled my soul in the following months. I can’t remember how many times my fist hit hard places. I screamed at God when life carried me away from the direction I wanted to take.

“How long will You take me out of my way?” I questioned God. I longed for my life before the interruption. Managing my days on autopilot was no longer an option as I faced my new circumstances. Slowly I began to see that this spiritual reconstruction paralleled the roadwork outside my neighborhood.

Once all the orange and white barrels were gone and I was free to turn left at that intersection, I appreciated the results. Smooth asphalt spread out before me. Two lanes of traffic moved steadily. The “earthquake zone” had been transformed into a park-like setting. A tree-lined sidewalk encouraged pedestrians to walk toward the ballpark and the neighborhood church. Admiring the new landscape, I realized I’d been inconvenienced, but now I could see that the long delays were worthwhile.

Today, although my life continues to zigzag through various “construction sites,” I realize God allowed me to experience the orange and white-barreled roads to illustrate a truth. He is at work up ahead rearranging the landscape of my life. Psalm 37:34 says, “Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land.” (NLT)

I may not be able to see what that land looks like, but I believe His Word. So, with His help, I put my hope in Him, traveling the paths He lays out for me, even though they are not the familiar roads I would normally take.

Father God, You know how difficult life is right now. My interrupted life and the difficult roads You have me traveling feel like they’ll break me. Give me the capacity to graciously travel the paths You lay out before me. Help me trust You, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Van Walton’s blog

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy Blight

Application Steps:
Memorize one of the referenced Bible verses. Pray it out loud when disruptions threaten to interrupt your life.

How has my life been interrupted recently?

How would God have me respond to this most recent disturbance?

Power Verses:
Psalm 25:4, “Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.” (NLT)

© 2009 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful that God walks with in the detours that He allows in our lives. Thank you for sharing. This is very helpful.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I woke this morning with a heavy heart, I longed for God to speak to me and help me to keep the focus on Him and not my anxiety regarding a particular situation. Praise God for speaking through you to me this morning. He is with me, I just have to cling to that and resume daily life through this wait. I am following His path and He will take care of all of the details... Thanks for sharing and touching my heart this morning.

Blogger Karen said...

Could this have been any more relevant... LOL

As a new military wife, let's just say that our comfortable, predictable life has taken a MASSIVE detour. Five months into thie journey, now most of the time I'm reasonably content to let God take the lead and follow where He takes me. But still, it is incredibly difficult sometimes to let go of those reins of control and trust that He really is working out something for my good up ahead.

Thanks for the reminder and the beautiful analogy :)

Blogger Salzwedel Family said...

I've been struggling for several months now wondering what path God wants us to take regarding our adoption.

This message just truly spoke to my heart. My eyes filled with tears as if God was sending this message to my e-mail just for me. Thank you for this encouragement.

~ Stephanie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really needed this today! We had just gotten over the shock of learning we were going to be parents again. Our kids are 11 and 13 and surprise I'm pregnant! It is good and we are happy but it will be a change. Then last week I was let go from my job, suddenly in the ranks of the unemployed and uninsured with a new baby on the way felt like a double whammy. I have told myself God has a plan and this plan is for good but sometimes I don't like it very much! This is one more reminder that I need to trust Him!!!! Thank you

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I too have been struggling with the construction cones being put in my path. It's put me in a rut with my faith. Not really feeling spiritual these days. Yesterday I woke to a flooded tub and this morning I woke to no heat (it's 14 degrees where I live). I know that there is a reason these cones have been put in my path. I am so glad that I opened this email today because it was just the words I needed to hear since I have been asking God to speak to me for two days now. I know he heard me and I know that I have to trust him and in time the cones will go away and what will be left will be nothing short of spectacular. Thank you for touching my soul today!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love our wonderful Heavenly Father. I cannot say how much he has revealed to me in the past few days much less the past 7 months. Trusting Him even through this time of revelation was tough. There were times of out and out doubt I could not see past the barrels. I could not see the park on the other side. I urge any woman to read Heb. 3:12-19. He wants us to know that declaring to Him that we cannot but that He can every day of our lives, we give Him the access to our hearts to give us the fruit of His Spirit. His peace His Joy to fill us even in times of struggle, this is walking in obedience. Love to all, May He bless you in all your ways. Be ready for His gift today!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read this, and I am having anxiety about going to my job, as there is a situation there,and it is making me feel I read this I have to step out of that boat and I have to cast this situation to the Lord so he can bear my burden.

So thank you for this devoiton.

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