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]
When I was a little girl, I had a crazy imagination and I had a lot of time to consider my future. I had a complete future dreamed up, with the number of kids, how my husband would be, the job I would have, etc. Some of what I imagined became reality and there was a point in life when I thought everything I had envisioned was right in my grasp; however, my fantasy world crumbled before my very eyes.
In today’s passage, Bildad asked Job if he wanted to have the world redesigned for him, to have reality suspended for him. It meant should that which is firm as a rock get removed as a special accommodation for Job so that he could have his own reality. Or one could say that which doesn’t fit or work into my plans be removed so I could have the reality I want.
Bildad understood that God designed the world and that was reality. God is Creator. God is King. Of course with his truth he was misdirected regarding Job; however, we also need to ask ourselves this same question. There are moments when the reality that is before us doesn’t fit our plan and we need to step back and realize that our plan and God’s plan aren’t totally aligned. Improper alignment causes us to desire a redesigned reality. Remember God’s plan is so much better than the one we could ever imagine.
“Bildad from Shuhah chimed in:
‘How monotonous these word games are getting!
Get serious! We need to get down to business.
Why do you treat your friends like slow-witted animals?
You look down on us as if we don’t know anything.
Why are you working yourself up like this?
Do you want the world redesigned to suit you?
Should reality be suspended to accommodate you?’”
-Job 18:4 [MSG]
King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream that Daniel interpreted. The king was warned to “renounce your sins by doing what is right” (v. 27 NIV). He had time to do it too. He had twelve months. Talk about patience. God is patient.
The king had twelve months to do what was right but he neglected to make the choice and ended up facing the consequences. God doesn’t want us to be in that situation. He wants each of us to not need the punishment—for each of us to make the choice, to choose life. God has promised life abundantly to those who believe in Him. God has promised eternal life to those who repent and believe in Christ Jesus.
Peter wrote: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV). He is patient. He is waiting. He wants you to come home. Are you ready?
“Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon.” – Daniel 4:29 [NLT]