The long way around

My wife and I are never closer to divorce than when she is right.

Just kidding. We’ve already ruled out divorce as an option, but homicide… well.

Once again, just kidding.

Seriously, it really peeves me when my wife and I are engaged in passionate discourse (aka fighting) and in the midst of the battle it becomes abundantly clear that she is right.

The one time that happened was really rough on me.

You know that feeling that you have been missing the obvious? That the answer has been right there all along and you’ve just been too blind, busy or bored to pick up on it.

No? Just me? Hmm.

I get that feeling a lot while reading Scripture. I know its ‘living and active’ (Hebrews 4:12) so we shouldn’t be surprised when we read, reread and rereread and find something new at each approach.

This spiritual peekaboo is sometimes a blessing, sometimes a warning, sometimes refreshing, but always right. And, it happened again today.

I don’t know how many times I have read and preached/taught through the book of Exodus (I’ve even seen The Prince of Egypt like a hundred times), but there it was right there in front of me.

God added a new verse last night while we were sleeping!

Okay, you know He doesn’t do that, right?

Regardless, I was slapped in the face by the newness and freshness of a thought from a verse I can’t recall seeing before. I found it as I was reading through the Bible in a year.

By the way, you can create your own reading plan at www.yourversion.com and I highly recommend not only this site, but reading your Bible.

So here’s the verse. In the middle of the Exodus story, God has just brought the thunder down on Pharaoh and the Israelites are finally being set free to head to the Promise land.

It’s here we find this jewel:

Exodus 13:17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

Wow, does this explain a lot about my life. Probably yours, too.

I think the normal tendency for humans is to look for the shortest and easiest route to the places we need to get. Whether it is in our career, relationships, finances or even spiritual issues.

Honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. In fact, looking for the hard way and putting yourself in the path of most resistance would probably bump you up a couple of notches on the stupid meter.

But, what God is saying is that what is smarter, shorter and easier was not necessarily better. And, His plan is to move us in the direction of best!

How many times have I fought with God because the path we were moving down would be slower, cost more, or just generally be harder. The whole time I am kicking and fussing that this can’t be the will of God!

I even justify my objections by saying we need to go this other route and trust in God because He is able.

Problem is, this was true for the Israelites too. God could easily have used them to defeat any enemies in front of them. In fact, in just a few short years they will repeat the David and Goliath story again and again and again and again.

But, God knew something: Even though He was ready, they weren’t.

God has the advantage of knowing the past, the present and the future completely. He has a firm grasp on who He is and who we are. And when He does the math on any given situation, He will always make a better call than we will.

Sometimes the harder route, the longer path and the lesser choice is just what we need, and thank God (literally) He loves us enough to move us in the right direction.

We are all in different situations. For some of us the key should be, “Don’t rush it.” For others, we should say, “I’m in for the long haul.” For all of us, we need to commit to, “God’s way, not my way.”

Whatever you are dealing with and working on right now, continue to walk through your desert without looking back. Trust the hand of the God that is leading you and wait for the battle until God says you are ready for the fight.

It may seem like the long way around, but God has your best interests in mind. Don’t worry, the fight will come someday.

Until then, just keep on walking.

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