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  • Writer's pictureJason Garcia

The Shortest Way Isn't the Best Way

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" (Ex. 13:17).

Israel would eventually have to confront the Philistines and war against them for much of their history.

Amazingly God knows and considers the weaknesses and sheer lack of willpower in His own people–– "they might change their minds and return to Egypt" and, more amazingly, He alters their course so they won't face challenges for which they are not ready.

There would be other challenges––lack of water, food, and threats from enemies––but these were tests from God, as He said, to see "whether they would walk in My law or not" (Ex. 16:4).

They were vulnerable, weak, entitled, and untrained. They often complained and brought upon themselves a world of hurt for failing the tests and ended up testing God (Ex. 17:7). But God graciously provided for them and protected them time and time again to prove His love and power––to humble them, teach them, strengthen them, and assure them––"man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Deut. 8:3).

But from the people's perspective God had forgotten them––"Is the Lord among us or not?"––they would say (Ex. 17:7).

It wasn't a cake walk, the threats were real, the needs were real, but all challenges and difficulties had already been taken into account by God, and not only taken into account, but even orchestrated for the BETTERMENT of His people (Deut. 8:1-3).

You see where this is going. We often ask through tears, "Why ME?" "Why do I have to suffer in this way or that and not others?" "Why did I endure this loss and not someone else?"

God has already considered your weakness and lack of willpower as He has mine, just as he did of His ancient people. He will lead us in the way in which we should go. It will not be the path of least resistance, BUT He still constrains the power of your enemies, taking your ability into account: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10:13).

He is molding you into what He would have you be––into what you were always meant to be, if you will only let Him. He is proving the character of your faith.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:6-7).

Proven faith, brethren. That's what matters to God, that's all that has ever mattered: "The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 13:3).

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