Our culture really loves to celebrate young success. I totally get it – it’s amazing to see someone kicking life’s butt already in high school or in their early 20’s. I ogle Forbes’ 30 Under 30 every year. It’s almost impossible to not be blown away by people who just seem to “get it” sooner than the rest of us.
Blown away and jealous. Ridiculously jealous.
I didn’t make it on that list before I turned 30 and now – just a bit past 30 🙂 – I still don’t seem anywhere near that list’s caliber. For example, my big successes for this week so far include: 1) Staying awake for the whole sermon on Sunday and 2) only having $3.25 in late fines at the library today. But, in all seriousness, there are a couple of things I consistently wish I were much better at much earlier in life. I often wonder what God’s plan is with me and why it’s taking so long to hatch.
Then, this past week, I read something that changed my perspective.
In chapter 13 of Exodus, Pharaoh finally agrees to let the Israelites go with Moses into the wilderness. As they embark on this adventure, we see the first thing God does is make them take the scenic route.
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them on the road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest way from Egypt to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.‘” (Exodus 13:17 NLT 1996)
He didn’t even skip a beat – right from the first step of this journey, he leads them along a path that will keep them moving confidently forward. He knew the dangers that the Israelites would face if he took them on the shortcut. He knew it might be too much for them to bear.
Maybe that same amazing God knows the same thing is true about me. The fast rise to success comes with battles I’m not ready to face, battles that might make me change my mind about the bold, exciting calling God has planned for me. Maybe the battles I already face on my current journey are the ones God knows I will trust him with.
Maybe I can learn to thank God for the slow journey to whatever and wherever he’s leading me. (Easier said than done, I know! I’m gonna start by praying…)
Prayer: Dear God, please help me to trust you in this journey I’m on with you. Give me a faith that’s strong enough to trust you when things don’t happen in the time and way I think they should. Thank you for knowing which battles I’m ready to face (and which ones I’m not). Amen.