The Right Path

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. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.  Exodus 13:17-18a (NLT)

Austin and Jared were dog tired. The hike had been longer than they thought it would be and it didn’t help that they had been messing around the whole time. The camp leader had taken them out early that morning to hike to the best spot for watching the cranes. It didn’t seem like it had taken that long to get there but now, on the way back, it seemed like it was taking forever. The path wound downhill and, from their vantage point, the boys could see the camp far below. It seemed like a straight shot, not the walking around in circles that the rest of the group was doing. The boys looked at each other and knew what was going through each of their minds. They had been best friends forever and often had the same thoughts and ideas.

As they began to hang back from the group, they watched for their opportunity. It came as the rest of the boys headed around a bend on the way down. Jared and Austin took advantage of this and headed down the hill on a beeline for the camp. “Bet we’re back and washed up before they even get through the gates,” Austin said. Jared grinned in agreement as they crashed through the underbrush, keeping their target in sight.

About halfway down they both stopped short. A fast-running stream stood between them and the camp. It wasn’t that deep but the snow melt had turned it into a tumbling mass of water. They knew they couldn’t cross it safely, at least not where they were now. They headed upstream looking for an easier crossing. Not finding any, they went back they way they came and headed the other direction. After another quarter hour of walking, they found a place where someone had built a small footbridge over the stream. The boys crossed over but by now they were far away from where they had originally intended to cross and it took a lot of time to get back to where they could see the camp again. When they finally walked through the gates, the rest of the boys were already at lunch. The camp leader was waiting for them. He knew they had taken what they thought was a shortcut. And he knew that it really wasn’t.

“There’s a reason the path goes the way it does, boys. I think maybe you found that out. Sometimes the shortest way isn’t always the best way. Sometimes there are obstacles that we don’t know are there. It’s best to stay on the path,” he said. Jared and Austin had to agree.

I know that sometimes we wish there was some sort of shortcut to getting where we want to go, a family restored and living for the Lord. For some, the path is short and the walk is easy. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes it seems like the Lord is taking us the long way around. But He knows what He’s doing and where He’s going so we just need to keep following Him. He won’t let us get lost.

After the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord did not lead them along the shortest path. He knew there were battles ahead that they weren’t yet ready to fight. So the Lord led them along the dessert road, toward the Red Sea. The people did not understand why they were taking this route. But the Lord was going ahead of them, leading them around obstacles they didn’t know about; leading them to the miracle He performed at the Red Sea.

Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.  Psalm 77:19

If the path your family has walked seems to be long or even going in the wrong direction, remember the Lord leading the Israelites to the Red Sea. Remember His deliverance and the awesome victory after their long journey. Never give up praying for your dad or your mom. The Lord hears those prayers and answers in His time and in His way. The path may seem to be wandering, but the Lord knows how to get you where you want to go. Just follow Him by faith.

God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights…. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.  Psalm 18:32-33,35-36 (NLT)

God bless

A Stander in Nebraska


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