The Wrong Turn That Made Things Right
Lately, my dad has been showing signs of a deteriorating memory. He’s been caught in situations where he has forgotten where he has parked his car, and ends up having to spend multiple hours looking for it. This has happened more frequently over the course of this year, which was quite a concern for my family and I. Of all the times he had “lost” his car, he spent no less than 4 hours searching for it, and being the self-reliant person that he is, not once has he called home for help. Of all these times, he ends up just coming home very late (due to the prolonged search) and leaving us worried sick on his whereabouts. Once, I was so worried at his absence that I had to send an urgent prayer request out to my church group, asking them to intercede for my “missing dad”.
A couple of week ago, the same thing happened. Dad had called my mom at 4PM, to say that he was not able to find his car. After that, we had complete radio silence as he did not want to be bothered by our calls and didn’t wish to trouble us. At 11PM, we hadn’t heard from him yet, so I made a frantic phone call to him, asking him where he was. When he picked up, he told me he had found his car and was on his way home.
However, by midnight, there was still no sign of him and I knew that he must still be searching for his car and his pride didn’t allow him to admit that. At that time, I immediately drove down to the location which he last told us, hoping that I would be able to find him and help him with his search. In the car, my heart was crying out to the Lord, “God, help me to find dad, help us to find his car, help him to be OK, with You, all things are possible.”
Not being familiar with the location, I followed the GPS’s proposed route and at the final moment, I make a wrong turn and end up in an unfamiliar building. As I took that wrong turn, I was filled with frustration — come on, I had no time to waste during this frantic search.
“This is the worst wrong turn I could ever make! Of all times?!”, I cuss under my breath and carelessless fumble with the GPS to recalculate my route to where I hope dad was at. As I make a turn out of that building, I see a sign that says “Gateway drive”, but ignore it since it probably wasn’t important.
As I finally reach where I think my dad was at, I circle the carpark, hoping to catch a glimpse of him walking around. And finally, I see the silhouette of dad, walking aimlessly in the huge carpark. There was no way he would be able to cover the entire carpark in this area, there were 3 levels and each level was massive!
I holler at dad to enter my car, and he does, he looks relieved and sheepish at the situation he is in. He starts rubbing both his knees – it was apparent that his knees were hurting after walking for 8 hours just to find his car. He then told me that this was the 3rd carpark in this area that he had been walking around, as the first 2 had proven futile.
“Bite your tongue”, the Holy Spirit says. I listen, my heart softens and compassion floods my heart. I know it is not in my place to lecture him or give him words of advice. All I did was tell him that it was OK, and it would be more efficient to look for his car in mine, as we could cover great distance compared to walking. He nodded, and I knew he was thankful for my presence.
“Dad, where do you remember parking?”
“I don’t remember where, it could be anywhere, I have no recollection”
“Do you have the address of the place you were supposed to go to?”
“Yes, but I park in the general vicinity and not always at the exact location.”
“Do you have the address?”
He opens his diary and point to the words, “Gateway Dr”
Immediately, it rang a bell. That was the address of the building which I had first made a wrong turn into! I ask dad if he could remember how the building looked like but he said that it could have been an open air parking space, not necessary a parking space in a building.
When I heard that, in my heart, it sounded like we would have to be there for a few more hours, so I quickly made a silent and desperate cry to God, asking Him to give me the wisdom to find the “lost” car. I then make a decision to drive back to the first building I made a wrong turn into, praying that somehow, the car would be there.
As we made a turn into the building at Gateway Drive, and drove into the underground carpark, we immediately see a grey shiny vehicle, and my dad screams, “found it!!”.
We screech to a halt and dad alights and hops into his car. I looked at my watch, we had only been travelling for 5 minutes. Wow, talk about acceleration!
As I drive home alone in my car, I reflect on what had just panned out. Jesus orchestrated a wrong turn that day, knowing that through the wrong turn, it would be a lighthouse for me to come back to find my “treasure”. There would have been no way I would have driven into that building (I didn’t even know it existed), unless God had allowed for that detour. And during that detour, I was pissed and frustrated, but God had a plan, I just didn’t know it was that good! That it was the best detour!
This small situation can be made parallel to many other things we face in this journey called life. Sometimes we see a wrong turn as a complete waste, as a travesty, as something we curse and regret, but God sees the bigger picture. God may just be using that wrong turn as a lighthouse that will lead you to the just solution you need. God always sees the bigger picture, so trust in His greater plan!
Isaiah 55:8-9New International Version (NIV)
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.