New Years. Brings thoughts of fresh beginnings, happy family pictures, resolutions, general joy and bliss.
But maybe not for you. Are you looking at the start of 2017 and wondering what happened? Maybe you’re beginning with family issues, health issues, grief, loss, change, depression. Maybe its not even that serious, but you’re just not feeling the joy and bliss of the flip of the calendar.
If you had told me three months ago that my 2017 would look like it does, I would have told you you were off. your. rocker. Then three days later, my life took a sudden turn that I would have never guessed.
But the other day I was listening to a podcast and the guest was talking about Exodus 13. Verses 17 & 18 say,
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”
Essentially God was saying, I know these people, and for their own good, I’m going to lead them the long way around.
The long way. The way that would have made zero sense to anyone watching. Or with a map, or a plan.
And yet there was no denying that this was the way God wanted them to go. There was a massive pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. God was very clear that He wanted them to go the long way around.
God leads us the long way too. Whether we can see the good right away, or whether it takes years to show up, or whether it seems as if we will never understand, God’s way really is for our good. Even when its long and through the wilderness.
Over the next few books, we get to know these Israelites pretty well. They had issues with trusting God, getting along, obedience, faith, complaining…starting to sound familiar? It certainly does to me. I can see why God sometimes needs to lead me the long way through the wilderness. The wilderness became a place of purging sin, learning lessons, growing faith. These things don’t happen on the easy path, the short path. The biggest growth happens on the long journey, the difficult one.
But you know the best part of the story? When they finally get to the Red Sea, they get to witness miracles. They literally get to see God destroying their enemies, making a path through an impossible situation, taste total freedom from Egypt. If they knew what was coming, they might have savoured that walk in the wilderness that was leading them to the miraculous.
So, my friend, at this, the start of 2017, we don’t know how long the road is going to be, how hard the journey, but we can rest assured in this: God road is always for our good.
And He is the God of the miraculous.