Last summer my crew of 8 decided we would take a family hike in the mountains… something we do frequently and quite enjoy. This time was different. We decided to take a new trail…side note of hindsight: if the name of the trail you are thinking of taking has the word “devil” in it, you might want to rethink your trail choice!! So why we decided on this trail I’m not quite sure other than there were some pretty neat and rare sights said to be seen on it. So off we go and it wasn’t too long before we came upon a rattlesnake… we froze and with our 6 kiddos between us my husband grabbed the three closest to him in the lead I and grabbed the three closes to me in the back so now in between us is the rattler. I could feel my children’s heart pounding through their chest as I held them close. For the sake of your time I’ll tell you the story ends well and no one was bit but there were quite a bit of theatrics in between! This scenario reminds me of one astounding passage in Scripture.. Exodus 13:17-18 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.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. -You see God knew the peoples relationship with Him was shallow and did not judge them for it but instead made effort to strengthen their hearts trust in Him. He knew the quickest way to the promised land would involve battle and the stress of continually having to be on the defense and the strength of having to take the offense was going to be just too much for their young and tender hearts of faith… this route would have them running back to their old ways of bondage instead of looking to the one true Stronghold. So God took them the dessert route toward the Red Sea. Now from our human perspective when we face the desert route we often complain wondering why we have been passed over why, why, why we complain in stead of thanking Him for the extra time to seek Him for who He is and all He longs to be for us. Our complaining distracts us from seeking more of Him, His purposes and His ways. As we see with the Israelites desert experience God sent a pillar of cloud by day and by night a pillar of fire to lead them (Ex.13:22) We can trust He never leaves us alone in our deserts either…He is always moving. So as the Israelites marched boldly through their desert (Ex. 14:8) so can we knowing He is with us. Now the desert way wasn’t free of problems… there was the thing of the Red Sea. Seems like a big one. Not for our God. He knew this trial was the way His people would grow the most in their knowledge of Him. He knows us best and He knows our hearts the deepest thus He knows and uses only the trials that will grow us most fully closer to His heart if we will allow Him to work out His purpose through it and us. But we must not be afraid and stand firm until we see the deliverance the Lord will bring just as Moses told the people in Ex. 14:13 In this Red Sea trial unlike the short battle route God would be doing the heavy lifting (actually He always is) Ex 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – God was going to part the waters they just had to keep doing what they knew to do…walk, put one foot in front of the other one step at a time. He even saw their weakest point was in the rear and He covered them (Ex.14:19-20)…the person whom God backs can not be destroyed. He knows our weak spots and He becomes our strength there..in our weakness He is strong (2 Cor. 12:9-11). Ex. 14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him. God knows best the route we should take so lets listen for His voice saying “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 No one likes the desert route but we can trust the One to protect us from being devoured by the snakes and to get us safely through. Amen right!