Journal Entry // February 20, 2022
But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.Exodus 13:18 ESV
The mercies of the Lord sometimes seem not quite so merciful when we are experiencing them, but our heavenly Father is full of ever increasing mercies in dealing with his children. On first reading, this seems a bit harsh to see that the Lord is going to lead the people on the longer route through the wilderness and toward the Red Sea. We might be tempted to question why the people had to be led through the longer harsher route. The previous verse tells us that God led them this way because if they went the shorter route through the land of the Philistines, the people were not prepared for war and would be tempted to flee back to Egypt.
Isn’t this a tender mercy. God lovingly caring for his people by keeping them from war and them possibly giving up and returning to the slavery of Egypt. But the people don’t get to see verse 17. They don’t get to understand that this journey through the wilderness is meant for their good and their protection and their salvation. No, they will later grow to grumble and complain and even long for the delicacies of slavery.
This is me… My route that God has led me on has been through the wilderness and to the Red Sea. I have grumbled and complained most of the journey. I have doubted the goodness of God. I have doubted the purpose and plan of this journey. I have looked back longingly on my own personal Egypt. I have looked for a return to slavery. But God in his infinite wisdom has placed me in this exact spot at this exact moment for my good.
Humble trust is what is required. Faith and obedience should be the steps I take. Looking back I can see the danger I was in. Not a physical danger, but a spiritual danger. A dangerous path that was leading me straight to a sheer cliff that I would have walked over and destroyed myself. God knew that I needed this wilderness journey. I needed this stripping away of everything I was trusting in that was not Jesus. I needed to clear away all the extraneous and simply have a foundation of Christ.
That is where I am today. Still. This wilderness journey has not been completed and may not ever end this side of eternity. I don’t know. What I do know is that I trust my Savior completely. If he tells me this path is for my best. If he tells me that walking through this wilderness will draw me closer to Jesus, then amen. I want to walk this path. It is arduous. It is difficult. It is humbling. But it is the path of Christ. I am learning obedience. I am learning faith. I am learning to see Jesus more clearly. This wilderness is beautiful. This wilderness is where I meet with my Father.