As a teenager I experienced a year of bullying at school which altered
completely the way my life subsequently turned out. It caused me to skip
classes, fall into depression, fail to get the required grades to get
me to the top university that I'd been accepted at, and have to make do
with what seemed on the surface to be 'second best''. Because the bullying
was difficult for me to rationalise - these were kids who previously had
been friendly to me - it of course had an effect psychologically and my
self-confidence was knocked for six.
Life is, of course all about defining moments in a journey - cross roads where we take a right or a left turn and sometimes wonder in retrospect "What if?" Sometimes those route choices are ones we make whilst in full possession of the facts; map, guidebook and compass in hand. At other times we are forced seemingly by circumstance to take a right, all other options being denied to us, diversion signs firmly in place.
It's how we handle those more uncertain moments that is so important. In our head the journey had been all planned out; we knew where we were heading and the route had all been roughed out, just the details to be finalised. Now, we're on a detour and there aren't too many road signs around. We're not sure that we can get back onto the route that we started. We start to panic, uncertainty creeps in and our sense of direction fails us. We're lost!
But then, hey, there's some pretty nice countryside round here. Oh, and would you look at that pretty village over there. Maybe this isn't such a bad road after all, a few potholes (ouch!) and one or two hairpin bends to negotiate - not as straightforward as the journey I had planned but….
That’s more or less what happened to me. I was forced to take a right when I wanted to take a left. I got myself lost for a while until I opened my eyes to the alternate future that was opening up before me. And I remember deciding to make the most of what was there, rather than ache after what had been denied me.
Who knows how things might have panned out? God knows, because in those darker moments he stepped in and joined me on my detour, and in such illustrious company my on-going journey has been one of constant discovery - of myself and of the world.
I have learned that God can take the bad times and use them for our good. He has a lot of experience, having given up his own Son for the good of us all.
If you're at a crossroads, don't be afraid to step out into the unknown, throw away the map and boldly go……
You never know who you might meet on the way.