I think there are many of us on here who receive the daily emails from Charlene Cares. I know that somedays the message being sent is absolutely what I need to hear. Now reading what I just wrote above, here is the message today.
Just because He doesn't lead us on the shortest path, doesn't mean it isn't the right path.
- - - - -
Is This the Way?
"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." So God led the people around by the
desert road toward the Red Sea." Exodus 13:17-18
Can you imagine the Israelites confusion and consternation when Moses led them out of Egypt on the path he did? This was not the shortest path to their Promised Land. Why were they going this way? But the Israelites didn't see what God could see. God saw the obstacles and the problems and knew they were not ready to face them yet. So He led them on a different path.
Maybe you are on a longer route than what you would want. Maybe God hasn't given you the shortest route to your restoration and you are confused. But we have to remember that God sees what we don't. He sees not only the end of our journey, but all of the obstacles and detours in our way. Just because He doesn't lead us on the shortest path, doesn't mean it isn't the right path.
It is His loving hand that leads us and our job is to trust and follow. Perhaps He is protecting us from a battle we are not yet ready to fight. Perhaps He is taking us on a detour to avoid some snare the enemy has laid in our way. Maybe there are things we have yet to learn. Maybe He is waiting until He has both hearts ready for His miracle. We can't know what lies ahead or what the future will bring. But God does.
"By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to
guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to
give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by
night left its place in front of the people." Exodus 13:21-22
God did not leave the Israelites alone in their curious journey.
He went ahead of them to guide and direct them. The pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire did not leave its place in front of the people. Wouldn't it be great to have this kind of clear direction? How easy it would be to see the right road and avoid the pitfalls. We may not have the same kind of roadmap that God provided for the Israelites but we do have the same kind of guidance. The Bible is our map and our guide to show us the right way to go. God's Word is our instruction manual and in it He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, just as He promised the Israelites.
I often envy the prophets in the Old Testament. They were always getting signs. The burning bush, the fire from Heaven, the pillar of cloud and light, the parting of the Red Sea and the Jordan, the mouths of the lions and the flames of the furnace.
Signs like that would make our walk pretty easy wouldn't it? But these prophets didn't have the Bible where they could read of God's promises and discern the right path. We want signs, too and sometimes God is good and gracious and gives them. But often our journey is made by the light of His Word alone. If we do what the Bible says, then we can know for sure that what we are
doing is right.
"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites to turn back
and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They
are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.
Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are wandering around the
land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' And I will harden
Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory
for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians
will know that I am the LORD." So the Israelites did this."
If you were an Israelite wouldn't you wonder what the heck was going on? First Moses takes you on a circuitous route, longer than it needs to be, and now he is telling you to turn back?
What kind of leader is this? He was the kind that listened to God and obeyed. Moses knew that God's plans were greater than his. And although he didn't understand why God was taking them this way, he did obey.
Why did God have the Israelites turn back? Is it because He wanted to make their life more difficult? No. God had a plan to bring glory to His name. God had a plan to show the Egyptians that He was the Lord. Do you think that maybe God has a plan for your family, too? Or do you think He just wants to make your life more difficult? God does have a plan for your family and His plan is to bring good to you and glory to Him. It might seem that we are traveling a strange path - plowing ahead, turning back, taking some detours. But God sees the road ahead and He sees just what needs to be in place to bring about His best for you.
"As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there
were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified
and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because
there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert
to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the
Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the
Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Exodus 14:10-12
We know how this story ends so we marvel at the Israelites lack of trust. But are we so different? Do we not grumble and complain when circumstances come against us? Do we not sometimes doubt that God will protect us? Don't we worry and fret when our back is against the sea and the army is bearing down from the other side? Even when we have seen His mighty hand in our lives in the past, as the Israelites did, we sometimes think there has to be a better way. There is no way but God. There is no circumstance that He cannot change in an instant. There is no situation too difficult for Him. We may right now be in the middle of the same trouble the Israelites faced. But God will make a way for us, just as He did for the Israelites, even if it takes a miracle to do it. He will open up a path through our Red Sea even when it seems an impossibility in the natural realm.
"Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that
night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and
turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the
Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of
water on their right and on their left." Exodus 14:21-22
The Great Way-Maker had done it again. He had taken a hopeless situation, raised His hand, and worked a miracle. Don't ever think that He doesn't want to do the same for you. He goes before you to light the way and behind you to protect you. He guides and directs you with His Word. He knows the path to take and leads you in the right direction and when we come to a place where there seems to be no way out, He makes a way. I read something one time that has really helped me on my journey. "I may not know what my tomorrow holds, but I do know the one who is holding it." This, dear stander, is trust.
"But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a
wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the
LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel
saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the
Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the
Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in
him and in Moses his servant." Exodus 14:29-31
Kim, standing in Nebraska
Well, back to pondering scripture....