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. Exodus 13:17 NLT
My wife and I planned the short route, but nature took us the long way around.
Honeymooning in the Great Smokey Mountains always brings surprises, and it did for us. As we ate our breakfast at a local pancake house in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on a crisp November morning, we watched flakes of snow begin. Loving snow—but not seeing it often enough—we decided to head to one of our favorite places where we hoped to see more … and in a more beautiful setting: Cades Cove.
We weren’t disappointed. The snow was light, but it blanketed the grass and trees, making the picture-perfect setting of the cove even more breathtaking. When the time arrived for us to make our way back home, we planned to take the scenic route through Newfound Gap and over the mountains to Cherokee, North Carolina. Nature changed our plans.
Newfound Gap, with Clingman’s Dome nearby, hosts wicked weather in the winter, and park rangers often close portions of the road. They had. This meant we had to travel back to Gatlinburg, take a secondary highway a number of miles to reach the interstate, and then go home. A much longer journey, and not nearly as scenic. We had no choice—and it was for our own safety.
Neither did the Israelites have a choice. After four hundred years in slavery, God finally delivered them. But He didn’t lead them along the shortest route to the Promised Land. He feared if they saw war, they’d want to return to Egypt, which also wasn’t in their best interest.
When we let God guide our lives, He doesn’t always take us down the short cuts. Sometime, the long way around is best, even though we might not think so. Instead of rebelling and forcing ourselves down the shortest way, we should remember God sees what we can’t—just as park rangers knew the weather along the route my wife and I wanted to travel.
God continually molds us more into the image of His Son, and this often happens through the long routes that teach us patience and trust. They also build our faith. He may also be protecting us from some unknown danger or preparing us for a battle we’re presently not ready to fight.
When God takes you the long way around, accept by faith that He knows what’s best.
Prayer: Father, when the journey is long and arduous, help us trust You to take us the right way.
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