Traveling the Longer Way Around

Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Sun Lakes

Imagine a travel agent giving you a plan similar to the one God gave Israel for their journey to the Promised Land after their miraculous deliverance through the Red Sea. Let’s say you’re interested in a three-week trip, and the agent says, “No, it will actually take you 40 years if you follow my plan.” You’d probably look for another travel agent! But God wanted to give the Israelites something far greater than a parcel of land. He was offering them a changed heart. And as they took the longer way around (rather than the most direct way) to the Promised Land, they would be protected from enemies they could not see and would be able to witness God’s miraculous power and provision for them each day of their journey. Thus, through it all, they would learn to know and trust in the Lord.

The reality is that God often sends us a different way than what we might have anticipated. For He knows the road we should take, even though it appears to be an unnecessary, longer way. And like the ancient Israelites, we learn to know and trust God through His presence and power being made known in the midst of our journey. Wherever His people are and whatever they face, He delights to protect, provide, and give His perfect guidance. In Psalm 32:8 He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” How blessed we are to have the guiding hand of a gracious God! Furthermore, His presence and guidance is continual. He says to His people, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Yes, we should ask for God’s guidance and trust Him for it—even when that guidance takes us the longer way around! For it is always purposeful. But there’s something even more important than seeking guidance from God. And that’s seeking God Himself! In other words, don’t just seek something from Him. Seek Him. Seek Him through praise, prayer, the study of His Word, and great gratitude for the gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember: God’s guidance is perfect and is always for His glory and our good. He’s the God Who is able to meet our every need, overcome every obstacle, and teach us in the way we should go. And every day of the journey He offers us the same thing He offered His people on their way to the Promised Land: A changed heart!