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Through the Wilderness and the Sea

(Exodus 13:17-22; 14:26-31)

Lesson 2 -- fourth quarter 1999
September 12, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

One of the rumors that's been around for a long time is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Well, the truth would be much better served if we changed rumors to facts. We accept that fact quite readily because our observation of reality backs it up. Can we just as easily accept the following truth? The best route between two points is not necessarily a straight line.

Of course we can accept that truth! Even in so simple an exercise as going from bedroom to kitchen, none of us would attempt the straight line approach. Solid walls offer little mercy to human bodies determined to crash through them!

Nonetheless, it seems we humans have a hard time accepting this truth in other dimensions of our lives. We want to get it or get it done as quickly as possible. You know, the sooner the better...though preferably even sooner? We just plain get hung up on that SLS (Straight Line Syndrome). You will not find it described in any medical reference book. As you might guess, though, Straight Line Syndrome is characterized by impatience and a tendency to get ahead of God. Those who suffer from SLS frequently have the "scars" of their bouts with the "illness."

Independence, recognition, marriage, work, service, responsibility, success, pleasure--these are but a few areas where people (even you and I!) succumb to the ravishes of SLS. We just haven't time or interest for the circuitous route, for the delayed gratification, for the measured pursuit of the goal. Then we get ahead of God, and often end up wishing we had been more temperate, mature and trusting.

Moses definitely learned that lesson by the time the miraculous Exodus began. So he willingly led the people on the route God wanted them to go. Oh, it wasn't the direct route to the Promised Land at all. And without doubt it wasn't the easiest route either. But it was the best route. (Would God choose any other?!)

My friend, don't fear the wilderness. When God chooses to take you on that route, go joyfully and confidently. He knows why that route is best. Is that not enough? Only He knows all the reasons why the direct route is not best. Is that not enough? Follow Him whole-heartedly, secure in the assurance that He is with you.

That is right: don't fear the wilderness...even when God's path of choice leaves you hemmed in on all sides. If He says this trail across the barren wasteland will get you to Canaan...then no sea smack dab across your path is a sign to go back or to pick your way through the mountains!

You got it: don't fear the wilderness...even when the enemy comes behind you kicking up the sand in a fury. When God says move forward, don't turn back to fight old enemies and new battles. For sure don't surrender.

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