So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.~Exodus 13:18a NLT
Have you ever looked around and just wished you were in a different stage of life? I know I have.
In your heart you know there are some things that God has promised you, but the road you’re on to get there is far from the path you would’ve charted for yourself. One step forward – only to feel like you’re taking three steps back.
Maybe it’s the:
- Promise of a restored marriage.
- Offer letter for a new job.
- Pregnancy test to finally say positive.
- Financial increase.
Whatever it might be, I know that those times in the wilderness can be—Down. Right. Frustrating.
I remember reading about a passage that really helped me shed light on these seemingly frustrating times. In Exodus 13, we find the children of Israel on the cusp of an amazing miracle. After 430 years of slavery under Pharaoh, they were finally free! And that’s when something interesting happens:
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, 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. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea (See Exodus 13:17-18)
Did you catch that?
God intentionally led them in a roundabout way.
Logically, I would think it makes sense to take the shortest route. After all, they had just come out from enduring years of harsh treatment, so I’d assume that God would want to get them to something special as quickly as possible.
But this is why He is God, and I’m not.
Maybe we’re not in the place we “think” we should be because God knows just like with the children of Israel, if we saw what was ahead, we’d be on the first train smoking back to the very places He freed us from. Could it be that our unexpected route is training ground to prepare us for difficult encounters? To equip us with the things of the spirit so that we can face the fight God’s way?
Remember, we’re not fighting “against flesh and blood” but against the rulers, authorities, world powers of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12). Or perhaps our unexpected routes are for internal work of the heart, as Deuteronomy 8:2 says, to “humble and test you – to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey His commands.”
As hard as it is can be, our Father God always knows best and that applies to those times of life when we’re on a path we just didn’t expect.
The path to the promise isn’t always the perfect route, but we will get there if we trust the way the Lord lays before us. My prayer is that you know you’re not alone in your journey and that your heart is encouraged to remember God will always remain faithful to His promises (Hebrews 10:24), no matter what way He chooses to get us there!
Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.~Exodus 13:17-18 NKJV
Are you on an unexpected path God put you on? Can you trust Him anyway?
Father God, whether the path I’m on is easy, hard, or unexpected, I thank You that You know best. Guide me with Your righteous right hand, and help me to trust You with the journey.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Adapted from Pages From My Heart by Lekeisha (Ford) Maldon: Used with permission
Copyright 2021: The Unexpected Route: Lekeisha Maldon: All Rights Reserved