Clear Sailing And Detours

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It often seems like when we get overconfident that we’ll have clear sailing ahead — our ship of life develops a leak and begins to sink! Why is this?

1. We live in an imperfect world.

2. As time goes by our load gets heavier than our vessel can bear.

3. We weren’t counting on having storms.

Jesus said in John 16:31-33 (NIV)
31  “You believe at last!” Jesus answered.
32  “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

I’m one of those people who often will skip over a hundred pages and read in the back of the book so that I will know how the story turns out and if the good guys win. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t 100% trust my GPS, so I have a compass affixed to my dashboard. Can you relate to that?

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” is from a Robert Burns poem about a mouse who had his nest destroyed by the poet, who’s writing this poem to apologize to the mouse about what he’s done. Have your life-plans gone awry?

I don’t like it when I see a sign “Detour Ahead.” However, I need to remember that a detour CAN be done on purpose and ought not always be seen as a negative thing. Yet, I do not like my plans to be interrupted. Frustration comes with the illusion that I am in charge of my journey. But all things can work together for good. (Romans 8:28) Not all things that happen to us ARE good!

“Just like wanting a detour to end, you are probably eager to be done grieving. Wouldn’t it be nice to just snap your fingers and feel better, free from the pain of your loss and filled with enthusiasm for the future?  Grieving, as you undoubtedly realize by now, doesn’t work that way. But just as with a detour, you aren’t rerouted forever, eventually you do get back on the main road. The route won’t be exactly like it was before you were detoured by your grief. But, the time will come when you are feeling better and are somewhat eagerly mapping out where you want to go when your detour finally comes to an end.” Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge R.N. Ed.D.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

With the Lord at the helm, there may not be smooth sailing, but there is promised a safe landing. Jesus, take the wheel! That’s my plan.

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Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

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