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. (Exodus 13:17)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
React: Two roads diverged for the Israelites upon leaving Egypt. One road was short. It looked easy and well traveled. Even with all their animals, children, and cargo, the entire Hebrew community could have easily made that journey in a couple weeks time, tops. Instead they took the long road. When that road led them to the place where they were stuck between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, it looked like they made a mistake. When that road led them out into a desert it looked again like they had made a mistake. When they were still traveling that road forty years later it looked like they had definitely taken the wrong road.
What would have happened if they took the short road? Scripture says they went out armed for battle, but also that they were not ready for the fight such a shortcut would have led them to. They needed to experience the Red Sea crossing. They needed a Mount Sinai experience. They had left the Egypt but Egypt (the world) had not yet left them. To do so, Israel needed the long road.
Sometimes I am so focused on my destination that I do not notice all the things I am learning along the journey. I want the short road. I just want to get there like… yesterday. But what great, God moments would I miss if I take that shortcut? Is there a Red Sea crossing along this road I am experiencing? Is there a mountaintop experience ahead I would never find on the shortcut? Although I might not always like it, I am on the long road… and that will make all the difference.
I want to be on the road You lead me down. I want to follow where You are going. That road may not be easy. It may not be comfortable, or short, or well traveled by others. that is OK. As long as You are with me on that road, that is all that matters. Give me the courage to diverge from the road all others seem to travel. Give me the faith to climb higher where the air is rare. Give me the the wisdom to understand that the going is just as important as the arriving.