Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny is the first book I’ve read by Dr. Tony Evans, and I experienced two distinct reactions to it: resonance and repulsion. I’m happy to report that the good definitely outweighed the bad, and I learned a few practical tips to help discern God’s hand in my life.
I think the book was written for people who, like me, have felt as if they’d been called to do something specific and purposeful, waited for YEARS, and have yet to see the vision become reality. (I blogged about that here and here.)
Resonance – What I Loved about Detours
Detours is an in-depth case study of the life of Joseph (based on Genesis 37-50) packed with impactful insights, practical advice, and encouragement to weary Christ followers to stay the course and finish the race marked out before us.
When your destiny is in God’s hands and you are trusting God with all your heart—in spite of your circumstances, mistakes, detours, and distractions—no one can block what God has for you.” (p. 153)
The premise of Detours revolves around God’s creating each individual human being for a specific purpose—a Kingdom purpose—and our experiencing fulfillment in the arrival of our destiny. He explains how God rarely (if ever) takes a person from the cradle to his or her destiny without a number of different detours along the way.
By the time you’re finished with the book, you’ll be able to answer the following questions:
- What is a divine detour?
- Why are detours necessary?
- How do I know I’m on a detour, and not merely being distracted?
- How do I know God is with me on this detour?
- What am I supposed to be doing while I’m waiting for my destiny?
- How does my past figure into my future?
- Is there anything I can do to get off this detour and back on the road?
- How long do I have to wait before I reach my destiny?
Evans posits that while some detours are created to develop certain skills, habits, and disciplines within us so that we can properly handle our destiny, other detours are self-inflicted thanks to poor decisions we’ve made along the way.
If God is not ready to deliver you from it, look for Him in it.” (p. 74)
The good news is that God can flip anything the enemy means for evil for our good (cf. Genesis 50:20), and He will fulfill our destiny when the time is right.
Repulsion – What Annoyed Me in Detours
The author’s casual, conversational writing style reflects a pastor’s heart and is filled with real-life illustrations much like a sermon would be. As someone very familiar with the story of Joseph, I found the detailed retelling (and re-retelling) of the milestones in his life unnecessary; however, someone unfamiliar will certainly benefit from this effort.
It was not long before I deduced that Detours was doubtlessly a sermon or sermon series developed into a book. The main development tool must have been a Thesaurus, because the repetition in the book became bothersome.
While I can understand repeating key points and phrases when speaking to a live audience—and I am hopeful those who purchase the audiobook will appreciate it—as a reader, I was repulsed reading the same point multiple times within a few paragraphs. I would highlight a profound statement only to have it repeated—almost word-for-word—in the next paragraph, and/or again on the next page! Thank God for Thesaurus.com, huh? Honestly, I got it the first time. The repetition felt like filler. (There were also a couple of non-sentences that bugged me because they made no sense at all.)
And, then there was the unexpected switcheroo in the conclusion where the author—instead of recapping the lessons learned from Joseph’s life as expounded throughout the book—chose to insert an incredibly well-known and previously un-mentioned fictional character and story line to illustrate his point. I found the introduction of Dorothy and her companions form the “Wizard of Oz” to be completely out of place and the allegorization of the movie’s cast and plot unnecessary and distracting. (There may have been a moment when I clicked my heels three times to get back to
Kansas Joseph…and it worked!) Dr. Evans does, in the end, recap Joseph’s journey and the practical life lessons learned along the way. He challenges us to pay attention to the pattern of promotions in Scripture: From Abraham to Joseph and Moses to Esther, we are reminded that our destiny has a kingdom purpose.
Your destiny and kingdom purpose often involve both a hookup and a hope to people beyond yourself. Look for both as God guides you.” (p. 199)
Detours is the kind of book I wish I had read in my twenties, although I’m not sure my twenty-year-old self would have embraced the truths contained in these pages. I highly recommend the book to anyone who finds himself or herself in a holding pattern or on a “never-ending” detour. You will be encouraged and your hope, refreshed. Pastors, church leaders, mentors, and coaches will benefit from the memorable and easily transferable lessons contained herein.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H Publishers (LifeWay) as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”