My continued reading in Exodus today led me to the subject of shortcuts. I did a brief review of my life and realized that taking the shortest way to anything was my general lifestyle, and it still is. From getting my GED rather than finish high school, all the way up to checking my facebook page this morning, I have lived on shortcuts. Even my microwave, which I dearly love, and use FAR more than my stove, is a shortcut.
“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.'” Exodus 13:17
God doesn’t care about shortcuts. He cares about the people He is leading. My research tells me that, although the road through the Philistine country was the shortest route, it was also heavily guarded by the Philistines. God knew His people were not ready for what they would face on the shortcut. And God still knows that although the shortcut looks most appealing to us, it is also the road that is heavily guarded by the enemy. Maybe because he knows it is the way we are most prone to taking.
But there was another reason for taking the long road, which placed the Israelites with the Red Sea on one side, and Pharaoh’s army on the other side.
“The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:18
“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.” (14:31)
I was reminded this morning of God’s intervention in one of my “shortcut” decisions. At a time in my life when divorce was clearly the quickest way out of pain and into a “normal” life, God stepped in and invited me to follow Him on a long road of marriage restoration. I struggled with the invitation because frankly, the shortcut looked better. I finally said yes, and followed Him on the long, often difficult road to a restoration that only He could have accomplished. It was on this road that I found some of the deep places of God’s heart, as He led me into healing and forgiveness. It was in following God the long way that I learned what it really means to die to myself, to love with His love instead of mine, and to seek His glory rather than my own comfort. It was also the road that many times left me feeling as though I had a Red Sea on one side, and the enemy on the other. For those that watched the process, including my family, and for those with whom I now have the privilege of sharing my testimony, God is clearly seen, and glorified. The long road left no doubt that He is able to do what is clearly impossible.
We are a people with a shortcut mentality, physically and spiritually. We so often bemoan how long God is taking to get us from point A to point B. The temptation is always there to take matters in our own hands and figure out the shortcut. For many of us, decisions are made based on the shortest distance to where we want to be, not even thinking that there may be a long road God wants to lead us down.
Remember…the shortcut looks appealing,
but it is the long road that leads to Glory.