We usually use it when someone has been diverted from a goal.
I looked it up to discover its origin. I'm sorta "English major" that way. Here's what I found:
"railway siding," 1835, from side (adj.) + track (q.v.). The verb meaning "to move (a train car) onto a sidetrack" is from 1880; fig. sense of "to divert from the main purpose" is attested from 1889.
Early railroads had only a single track between destinations. Problems arose when a train was met by another going in the opposite direction or was about to be overtaken by a faster one. This dilemma was solved with the creation of sidings, short lengths of track built parallel to the main line where one train could pull over while the other went by.
The train had been "sidetracked," meaning that, for a time at least, it wasn't going anywhere.
But the word *sidetracked* usually has a negative connotation. It's not quite as desperate as being completely *de-railed* – but it's something that definitely fits into the "snafu" category.
So, I have had a *sidetrack* I'd like to share with you.
This past weekend, I attended the Women of Faith Conference here in California. It was, as always, a most uplifting experience. Words cannot quite describe the feeling of roughly 12,000 women lifting their voices in praise to God.
The speakers were wonderful. I'll be sharing some of my insights on that next week – (love the teaser??). I was planning to start on that today, but I got…
Let me tell you what happened.
My husband left last Wednesday for one more camping trip before fishing season ends. Though I usually go with him, he went solo this time. I was a tad unsettled because he was camping in that same area that we were at in July. You know, the one with no cell phone reception. So, he was out of contact.
He promised he would come down the hill to call me every few days.
I talked to him on Thursday evening, and he said he would probably call again on Saturday. I reminded him that I'd be at Women of Faith, and I might not be able to answer. He said he'd leave a message.
So, I get out on Saturday around 5 PM. "The Hub" had not called. I told myself not to worry – it was still early.
At 6 PM, a wave came over me – I felt a total attack of anxiety. I just knew something had happened to him. I didn't go "over the edge" – after all, he had said he'd "probably" call – and I just started praying for him.
Sunday I left bright and early to attend a Los Angeles Kings Hockey Fan Day with my sons.
Around 9 AM, my phone rang.
"The Hub" –
"Hi sweetie, um, it's raining up here and I'm going to head home early."
I knew it.
A pause…here it comes, I thought.
"And, uh, I sprained my ankle."
Conversation went back and forth. We established that he was "OK" – and he told me not to worry.
Fast forward several hours. He's home, and he calls again. Now I find out that his ankle and his foot and "halfway up my calf" are completely swollen and purple. I tell him to call the doctor.
About half an hour later, he tells me he's on his way to the emergency room.
I get to the hospital as quickly as I can. I arrive about an hour and a half later and find my husband. The first thing out of his mouth is, "It's broken."
Yes, I know the meaning of "sidetracked."
Here's the thing.
Life is just like that.
It's a train ride. We go humming along the track, coasting and enjoying the scenery – when all of a sudden, we get sidetracked. Things come to a screeching halt. We're put out of commission.
But, are we?
God is not surprised by this *change of direction.* He saw it coming – in fact, He may even have pulled the switch that diverted us.
Maybe He saw an oncoming train He wanted to save us from. Maybe He saw another train that was catching up to us and we needed to move out of the way. Maybe He had a completely different destination in mind, and a little "sidetracking" was the only way to get us there.
We can view this sidetrack as a lesser alternative. We can feel like we're being pulled away from coasting in a certain direction. We can wonder why we're being sidelined.
However, we must not lose sight of two very important things.
One, God is still the engineer.
And two, that sidetrack leads somewhere.
You see, on God's sidetrack you aren't pulled to a stop. No, His sidetrack keeps going. And if you find yourself at a standstill, it's because you put on the brakes…
May I paraphrase here?
"And we know that God causes all TRACKS to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
(Romans 8:28, NASB)
So, today "The Hub" and I will be heading off to the orthopedic doctor. Today we're traveling in a different direction. Today we begin the new journey that God wants us to take.
Frankly, I'm sorta excited about this new *sidetrack.*
I'll keep you posted on what I see along the way!
(Tell me you got that last pun...)
Has God ever *sidetracked* you?
What did you learn along the new way?
(Please join me at Joan's Grace Cafe!)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"