Many years ago, before we had smartphones with GPS and map applications to help us get to where we are going, I used to use a paper map. I’d buy a map if I was going on a road trip. Sometimes, I was able to pick up a map from a travel agency like AAA. Other times I had to buy one from a gas station near the area I was driving to. Rarely did I do much in the way of any detailed planning. I knew where I wanted to go and roughly how to get there.

Over the years, I’ve changed quite a bit, and to a certain degree, it saddens me. I wouldn’t say that I got lost a lot when I was younger. I will say that when I got lost, I saw a lot more than when I went straight to my destination. Nowadays, I use the navigation application on my phone to get me to where I want to go, and I rarely deviate from it. I even go so far as to plot out the course ahead of time, always selecting the shortest route. This is what saddens me. I used to just enjoy the journey, and whatever came up along the way. Now I just want to get to where I want to go. Some of the best experiences I’ve had were in those times when I got lost or just allowed myself to take my time getting there.

In my walk with the Lord, I often forget it’s a walk. It’s a journey. It’s not an express train from here to there, and sometimes the shortest route isn’t the best route. This is what I was thinking today when I read this verse from Exodus.

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 (NIV)

I wonder how often we see a way to go, and God sees the same way, but He knows it’s not the best way for us to go? In this case, the best way for the Israelites get to where they were going wasn’t through the warlike countryside of the Philistines. God knew the Israelites might lose heart and turn back to the bondage in Egypt, so He took that option away from them.

I think God does the same things for us. We see something we want. A place we want to go to, He sees the trouble in store for us if He allows us to go that way, so He takes the option away. Before I was saved, I used to describe success in my life like this. It was the brass ring, always before me, yet slipping from my grasp, a moment too soon. I had so many endeavors that I thought would have made it for me. So many amazing opportunities that fell apart, for one reason or another. More often than not, the failures in these endeavors weren’t mine, which, ironically, made them all the more bitter.

I believe it was the Lord who kept all of that “success” out of my hands because I’d have never gone to Him otherwise. Of course, I couldn’t see that back then, when I didn’t know the Lord. However, today I’m trying to see, not with my eyes, but with His.

Now, there’s another side to this road that God took the Israelites on. God spared them the grief of war and going back to Egypt because they couldn’t handle it. They were too weak in their faith.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Joseph P. Kennedy

Sometimes the road we’re traveling down is hard and full of obstacles. It’s this road that builds our faith and strengthens us. It’s on this road where we learn to trust God more and more. It’s this road that the Lord is allowing us to go down because our faith isn’t weak, and He knows we can handle it. We can handle it because we lean on Him. It’s on this road of prayer and submission to God where weapons of faith are formed that bring down mountains and change lives.

So, when you’re walking down the troubled highway of your life. Know that this is the path the Lord has chosen. It might not seem like the shortest route, but it is the best route.

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.