Starweek Magazine

When you take a detour on purpose

Dr. Harold J. Sala - The Philippine Star

When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” – Luke 15:17-18

What would you call a person who sees the road sign, clearly marking the highway leading to his destination, yet he deliberately turns off the road and begins to meander in a different direction? A dawdler? A philanderer? A prodigal?

Long ago there lived a man who knew exactly where he was supposed to go but chose to go a different direction, a self-directed detour. His name: Jonah.

Jonah’s destination was the great city of Nineveh, Assyria, but the detour led him west on the Mediterranean instead of northeast to Assyria. He boarded a ship, fully intending to take as long a detour as necessary to shake responsibility and reshape his personal identity.

A great storm ensued, and Jonah admitted that he was the problem, which resulted in his being swallowed by a great fish. It’s really the story of a man who detoured from what he knew God wanted him to do, and when confronted with serious difficulty, decided to change directions, do an about face, and then go God’s way.

Jesus talked about a young man whom we call “the prodigal” who did the same thing. He left home and took a detour ending up in disgrace, misery and poverty. Jesus said the turning point was when he came to himself. That’s when he decided to go home.

A final thought: You can’t always retrace your steps but you can always get to where you should go from where you are. Changing directions, friend, will change your life. Your spouse, your parents, your God will be far more forgiving that you have any idea. Self-appointed detours are ended when you have the humility to see where you went wrong and decide to get on the right path. It’s time to take the path back to your family and to God. 

Used with permission from Guidelines International Ministries. To learn more about Guidelines and the ministry, send an e-mail to [email protected] You may also visit www.guidelines.org.












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