When the Lord intentionally takes us on a longer route, we can rest assured that He has full knowledge of the reason. As the Israelites made their exodus out of Egypt, “God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land” (Exodus 13:17). He chose to lead them on a different path because He knew the weaknesses of His people. Early battles with other nations would have discouraged the band of brick makers and construction workers—people with no combat experience. Their faith needed to be exercised and strengthened. And God prepared a perfect “curriculum” by leading them to the edge of the Red Sea.
Similarly, God has His reasons for the strange paths down which He sometimes leads us. And if He doesn’t take us the shortest way, we can rest in the knowledge that the experience is simultaneously bringing Him glory and providing for our good. His “way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30).
In the midst of it all, we can look for assurances of His presence. The Israelites experienced the visible manifestation of God being with them in “a pillar of cloud” and “a pillar of fire” (Exodus 13:22). Today, we have the Holy Spirit to comfort, strengthen, and guide us. Yes, God is with us even when He causes us to take the long way home!
What have you learned from taking difficult paths in life? How can remembering God’s presence encourage you when it seems He’s leading you the long way?
This post was written by Poh Fang Chia of Our Daily Bread. You can find the website at odb.org