the long way home

10 Jan

winding road“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them the short way, through the country of the Philistines…he led them through the desert toward the Sea of Reeds.”

This text quite literally tumbled out at me during my reading this week.

I didn’t manage to get out of the way in time.

God did not lead them the short way.

We thrive on short ways, short cuts. Even if it only trims seconds off the journey, we’ll go for it. We detest shortcut_0detours and delays. Get us there quick and get it over with. What moron would choose the long way? Who wants to head out into the desert for a round about tour of nowhere? The Sea of Reeds doesn’t exactly sound like Kauai. We’ll deal with Philistines, bring on the battle, let’s get it over with. Hard and fast beats slow and agonizing any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.

God did not lead them the short way.

He led them into the desert toward the sea in a long and winding path that had Pharaoh and company convinced that they were wandering around confused and lost, “hemmed in by the desert.” I don’t think the people had to fake the confusion. If they could have left indelible marks in the sand along their long and winding road, I’m sure we would see some rather large letters roughly approximating WTH, G-D?

I want to be done with all the effects of chemo.

pathI’m ready to feel again. I’m ready to be done with shrouds and clouds and a foggy brain.

Enough already of port flushings, of scans, of labs, of procedures and billings and waiting rooms.

Enough of having to watch those I love suffering under their own unbearable burdens, their own loads. Enough of tears, of sighs, of pain that simply refuses to leave.

God does not lead us the short way.

They traveled “by stages” as YHWH directed them. So do we.road work

And most of those stages were short on water. And food. And comfort.
Sounds like our journey.

God does not lead us the short way.

It’s reality – unless you are obnoxiously blessed. Which means of course we all hate you. Just saying. We can and do respond with our own scribblings of WTH or even WTF G-D? At least when we are being honest with him and ourselves. But hopefully there is a deeper, more ultimate and intimate inscription left not only by us but within us: I will trust anyway. I will see rejuvenation in each spot of shade, in each trickle of water. And when the current stage lands me in Elim with twelve springs and seventy palm trees, I will breathe deeply, drink slowly, and be thankful for each moment. When the current stage takes me to a dead-end dry rock, I will learn to see Christ even in this hard unyielding surface and look for water to burst from its bowels. When I’m staring into the sterile, bitter pool of Marah (Hebrew “bitter”) I will remember that Jesus (Hebrew “salvation”) was conceived in Mary (like marah, Mary is bitter). Healing is borne in the womb of bitterness.

And it is not a short bearing. Or birth.

We take the long way home.



Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Exodus, musings, Old Testament, Suffering


Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “the long way home

  1. K.D.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:01 am

    I will trust anyway! But do I trust? A work in progress. I will trust anyway!

  2. wordhaver

    January 10, 2013 at 5:18 am

    Oh you are twisted too… 🙂


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