Has God put a dream in your heart or called you to do something significant but, for whatever reason, it has not yet come to pass? Maybe God has called you to become a pastor or a missionary to another country, but you have waited and waited to no avail. Or, maybe you feel called to have your own business or even get married and have a family, but every time you think it is about to happen, something prevents it from taking place. Don’t get discouraged! Many times, God takes us down a different path to our final destination than what makes sense to us in the natural.
For example, after God freed the Israelites from Egypt, he took them the long way to the Promise Land, instead of the most direct route. The Bible says, “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. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea…” (Exodus 13:17-18a). God saw the end from the beginning and knew exactly which direction was best for his people. He saw all the pitfalls that would potentially harm them and keep them from reaching their destination successfully! Not only was God interested in getting them there safely, but he was also concerned that when they did get there, they would be well prepared!
The same is true for you and me today. God has a purpose in taking us through life in a roundabout way. It may seem confusing and pointless to us, but our perspective is not as broad as God’s. The Bible says, “’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). God sees every situation far in advance, and helps us navigate through treacherous waters victoriously. And, he leads us through trials and challenges that we would most certainly run away from had He not been there to guide and protect us. Only God, who sees all and knows all, can do that!
The key to fulfilling our God-given dreams is to walk by faith and trust God’s timing and to not rely on our own carnal reasoning! The Bible says, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” (Romans 8:6). As believers, we have a choice to listen to God’s still, small voice or to try to reason things out in our minds and do things our own way. When doors are not opening as quickly as we think they should, or we find ourselves in a huge storm, it is easy to take matters into our own hands, instead of leaning on God with all our might. Frankly, when we stubbornly push to go our own way, it never works out good in the end!
This was certainly true of God’s people, the Israelites. They had a difficult time trusting God because his ways did not make sense to them. They questioned him constantly, murmuring to themselves and complaining that he had taken them into the wilderness to kill them when, in actuality, God was taking them to a land overflowing with “milk and honey.” If only they had stopped and remembered all the things that God had done for them, their perspective might have changed. Sadly, the entire older generation of the Israelites that God delivered from Egypt never made it to the Promise Land.
One of the best things we can do when life seems confusing is to simply trust God by faith. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB). In other words, God is inviting us to trust that he will bring us to the right destination at just the right time, even if he does it in a roundabout way! Many times these detours are beneficial to us, but it requires faith to trust God when the reasons seem ridiculous to our natural minds.
Have you stopped trusting God because he is not moving as quickly as you would like him to? Or have you given up on God because your current location in life does not seem to be anywhere near where you think you should be? I want to encourage you to lean on God again. He is faithful to his word. There is a reason your God-given dreams have not come to pass yet, even if you cannot see it. Let God direct your steps and in due season, and at the appointed time, you will receive every good thing God promised to give you and do through you if you do not give up and quit!
Cory is a freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected]