February 28, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on May 24, 2014.  Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Zigzag, Not Straight, Path”

Exodus 13:17-22

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.”  18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

Math teaches us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. While that might be true in geometry, in our lives, we wonder if God has us going on a zigzag path between point A and point B. We’re at point A, and we sense that God intends to take us to point B. Point B is God’s good and perfect will for our lives. It’s the vision He has for us; it’s what the Spirit of God laid in my heart. But why aren’t we there yet?  

For example, point B may be something you want to do for the Lord. As you think about your future and what you can do to serve God, you see yourself in a certain ministry for the Lord. The shortest distance to that point is: 

  1. Your church asks you to do something in that area. 
  2. You enjoy doing it, and you do it well. 
  3. God’s people are blessed, and the leaders ask you to do it again. 
  4. Soon you’re put in charge of that particular ministry. 

But if God is taking you there, He doesn’t seem to be moving in a straight-line path. It seems that intentionally and purposefully God takes our lives on an alternate route. 

The shortest distance between point A, Egypt, and point B, Canaan was an international trade route that went from Goshen, through Philistine territory, and into Canaan. Israel can get from point A to point B in about eight to ten days following that highway—a straight line. But instead, God takes them in the opposite direction. Why? 

God sometimes takes us on a zigzag path because He knows if on a straight-line route, we’d never make it. There’s something in the straight-line path that would stop us from getting to point B. God, in his wisdom, takes us on an alternate route because it’s the only sure way to reach our destination. In Israel’s case, there was some fighting on the straight-line path that would prevent them from making it to Canaan. 

God knows there are obstacles along the straight-line path that would prevent His people from ever reaching their destination. God says, “My people are not ready for war. They have no military skills. They have no social nor political organization. They’ve been slaves for four hundred years. If I were to take them on that straight-line path, they might never make it to the goal. They might just go back to point A.”

Perhaps God knows that if you were too quickly given a prominent role in ministry (or something else), you would be vulnerable to pride. God in His wisdom knows there’s something in the straight-line path that would prevent us from ever reaching the intended destination. And He lovingly leads us on an alternate route. God is constantly leading you in your life. Trust in His goodness and His perfect wisdom and patiently follow His zigzag path.   

Prayer: God, please remind me everyday that Your path and mine aren’t the same, and that Your desire is beyond getting me where I need to go as quickly as possible.  Increase the level of my patience and understanding.  As long as I have Jesus, I am okay! Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 16

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