I love a good shortcut. Almost every day as I drive to work, I take a shortcut. Yet there are times in life when shortcuts are not best—when the easy way isn’t the best way.
When we dream about something we desire for the future, we want a shortcut to reach the dream. We want the money, but we do not want to do all the work. We want the title, but we don’t want to start from the bottom. We want the stuff, when we do not yet have the money to pay for it. We want the relationship, yet we do not want to make the investment.
In today’s passage, we read of the Israelites leaving Egypt, and of how God did not lead the people to take the shorter route. It’s true—sometimes shortcuts are great. Yet in life, we oftentimes have something to learn on the journey that we can only learn by travelling for a longer length of time. Suffering less is desirable, yet in suffering we often grow in our dependence on God, and our faith flourishes. Next time you have the opportunity to choose a path to take, instead of immediately jumping at the quick results, ask God what will bring you closer to Him.
“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.’” – Exodus 13:17 [NIV]
One of the most known psalms is Psalm 23. Even people who have never read the Bible have likely seen a passage from this psalm somewhere. When we read the first verse, it declares that the Lord is our shepherd. Then it says, “I have all that I need.” If the Lord is your Shepherd, you do have all that you need.
This is something that we all struggle with because we confuse wants and needs. We take on avoidable debt because of this confusion. We live in discontentment because of this confusion. As the Psalmist continues, he notes that the Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures. I love this visual. If you know anything about sheep, you know that they will not just lay down. The sheep need to be without fear to lie down. The sheep need to be without annoying parasites to lie down. The sheep need to be free of hunger to lie down. Here the Psalmist is declaring that the Lord is our Shepherd and with Him we have all that we need. As His sheep, we are able to lie down because we have all that we need, because we are without fear, because we are at peace, because we are fed and satisfied.
Are you content today? Do you recognize that you have all that you need—that with Jesus alone you are satisfied? This is a struggle for many people. We see people around us. We think we need more. We see a lack in an area of our lives and we think we are suffering. Remember, God has provided all that we need. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it. Remember, if you have Jesus, you have ALL that you need. With Him alone comes satisfaction. May He be your everything!
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” – Psalm 23:1 [NLT]