God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. — EXODUS 13:17-18
So many times, it seems as though the Lord takes the long way home. Rather than take the shortest, fastest route with plenty of paved highways and roadside accommodations, He takes us the roundabout way on back roads through the wilderness.
We operate with a sense of urgency and hurry. He is never in a rush but always arrives right on time.
The Lord isn’t always logical, but He is always purposeful. He has a plan and a road map for our lives that ultimately brings us to the promised destination.
When the Lord is leading the way, it will likely take longer than expected and will require some extended time in the wilderness.
It isn’t all that hard to understand when you reflect on human nature. We want it when we want it and we tend to want it now. Like the perfect chocolate cake, sometimes in life, the best things simply take more time.
In our angst for what awaits around the corner, the Lord encourages us to take in the view from where we are in the here and now.
Like kids on a family vacation, we nearly miss the important landmarks and sights to see because we are focused on whether we are there yet!
The Exodus account, of the Hebrew people, reveals that the Lord led them out of Egypt, not on the main road, even though it was the shortest, but in a roundabout way, through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.
There are times in life when we feel certain that the Lord missed the exit and is heading toward a dead end. Surely, He doesn’t mean to go in the direction we are heading? After all, if He keeps this up, how are we going to get through the Red Sea?
Trusting the alternate route on the GPS is the key. The GPS knows all the routes and is aware of where traffic jams are hiding. All things considered, the shortest route may in fact be the worst route.
Without faith it is impossible to please him. We would do well to recognize that we don't always know what is best for us. We have to trust our GPS knows better.
We aren’t even on vacation. The Hebrews left Egypt like an army ready for battle. The road ahead is long, dusty and has challenges as big as the Red Sea.
But this we know, the road through the wilderness brings freedom from our past and all that has held us back. The road through the wilderness is packed full of life lessons. The road through the wilderness is guaranteed to be full of adventure and great reward.
God doesn’t always take the shortest and easiest route. He takes the wild route through the wilderness.
Think and pray
Pack your bags. The road ahead is certain to have plenty of twists and turns, hills and bumps, roadblocks and high waters. Nonetheless, the roundabout way, His way, is the best way to get to where we’re going, the promised land!
Lord, I confess my impatience. I am frustrated by delays and seek to mitigate anything that would frustrate my objective. Help me today to surrender my objective to You, and let You lead me where and when I should go. Tune my ear to hear Your voice and help me to choose Your way over mine. Amen.
Ray Sanders is recognized as a passionate CEO, a leader of leaders, a white-board aficionado and an innovative growth strategist with a heart for purpose-driven cultures and values-based leadership development. He is Co-founder of Coaching Leaders and Edify Leaders, and a regular speaker for CBMC’s Young Professionals program in Oklahoma City. Catch his blog at raysanders.com.