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. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. -Exodus 13:17-18
I always look for a shortcut, a quicker way. If there is a quicker way, I’ll choose it every time. It’s not an ungodly, unfaithful kind of thing at all. Actually, I prefer to think of it as an efficiency thing. I don’t have forever to live, my life is slipping away with every breath I take. I only have so much energy, so many resources. And I feel an innate drive to leverage what I do have in the most efficient way I know how.
One of my greatest strengths, I believe, is the way I dream of potential today and want to see it become reality tomorrow. I’ve also come to know that that can be my greatest weakness.
Sometimes, greatness takes time to marinate. And, if rushed, potential greatness will come out as simply good. One of the saddest realities of my life has been the realization that I’ve been guilty of rushing potential and celebrating good when I could’ve waited, prayed, prepared and been blown away by something truly great.
When the Israelites emerged from centuries of slavery, they were poised to embraced their promised destiny. I can only imagine the anticipation and nervous tension that must have been circulating around the camp. They had endured hardship after hardship and now was the moment they’d been dreaming about, telling stories about and singing songs about. They exit Egypt and right there, right in front of them, is a shortcut, a direct route to their destiny.
But God makes a hard right and they head off on the long road. Right toward the sea. Let the frustration, the grumbling and the second guessing commence…
As terrible as the Israelites were at following God down the long road, I must admit to being even worse. When I know I have a vision of where things should be and I know God’s pointed me in a certain direction, I want to go there. NOW. And when I have to walk slowly down the long road toward the big sea blocking my path, I am often guilty of pitching a most un-spiritual fit… I snap. I beg. I whine. I pout.
But little does my limited human mind know that I’m about to experience the greatest miracle I could ever imagine when God parts the waters of the sea and calmly walks me right down the middle. And when I emerge on the other side, I’ll be fully prepared to listen for His voice and follow His steps.
Don’t be afraid to walk the long road while God develops the tools you’ll need to achieve His greatness. The last thing you want is to stand before God one day trying to explain why you traded His greatness for your goodness.