11 August 2021 – Rev’d Stephen Wright, Petersfield Methodist Church: Life in the detour lane

Life in the detour lane

A few weeks ago, I experienced the frustration of a night-time journey south-westwards. I encountered no less than three road diversions, one of which offered the driver a whistle-stop tour of the New Forest! Only as far as my journey was concerned it didn’t seem very fast at all. As pleasant as the New Forest is I didn’t want to be there.

For my road journey, read innumerable circumstances where aims and goals and destinations have been subverted by events. It is certainly true of what has happened over the last 18 months, where the aim of being Covid 19 free (or at least returning to something like normality) has been subject to many a long and windy detour.

Covid experience itself only reflects what is true more generally, that all our best laid plans are subject to diversion and going places we’d rather not. My first wife died at the age of 42. I was in the middle of my ministry and suddenly left alone with two small children. This was not part of the plan! How does one deal with these kinds of painful interruption in our direction of travel?

Not easily for sure.

And yet, it is in these detour moments where faith has often been a game changer. At the end of our own resources, we see our need of other people and of God. In my own experience, these things certainly ring true and part of my job these days, is to help people to see that there is one who provides hope and help amongst life’s grim detours.