We are only able to see where we are today. We cannot see what lies ahead, but God can.
I started college when I was 29 years old. I finished college when I was 40.
Yes, it took me eleven years to complete my education. I didn’t plan it that way. But life happened.
I finally attended my first official class eleven years after high school. After another eleven years, I finally graduated. In the end, it took me twenty-two years to do something most people do in four.
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
After many years of oppression, the Israelites were free to leave Egypt. If Moses had a map, he would have led the people to the promised land along the shortest route. It makes sense. They would have reached their destination quicker. Then they could begin their life as a free nation.
But that’s not the way God led them. Instead, they travelled a longer route that took them to the Red Sea.
The shortest route for the Israelites would have taken them through Philistine territory. The Philistines were a hostile group who would attack without asking any questions.
The Israelites would go on to have many hostile encounters with the Philistines. But for now they were not ready both physically or mentally.
We are only able to see where we are today. We cannot see what lies ahead, but God can. And in his infinite love for us, he guides us down paths that he know will help us grow and prepare us for what’s ahead. This may mean traveling a different or longer route.
We may never know God’s reasons for the path he takes us on. But we do know he does it out of love and that he knows what’s best for us. Even when we don’t.