Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 142

From Handbook to God’s Promises


Behind-the-Scenes Protection
(Exodus 13:17–18)

You rise early on Saturday and drive to a nearby city to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to graduate school. You don’t want to be late—or have anything worse happen—since this is the last time the GRE is being given for September admissions.

And then it happens—or, rather, doesn’t happen. Your car sputters, struggling to make it up a steep hill. You give it more gas, but to no avail. Before it stops completely, you manage to pull off on the shoulder of the road. There you sit, dumbfounded, in a dead car. The test begins in an hour and you’re still forty minutes away. Suddenly, God seems to be on the other side of the universe. Where’s His protection when you need it?

One of the first groups of people to ask this question was the infant nation of Israel. After four hundred years in slavery, God sent Moses to rescue them, and they were ecstatic: “We’re going home! We just walk due east out of Egypt, turn north around the corner of the Mediterranean Sea, and we’re there! What could be easier?” Instead, Moses took them due south out of Egypt into the heart of the Sinai desert, a land of sand, sun, snakes, scorpions, and scorching attitudes. You know they were asking Moses, “Why?” but as far as we know, Moses didn’t answer that question. We do know, however, why God did the opposite of what they were expecting. By going south, they avoided the Philistines, a warlike people whom Israel would have encountered had they taken the short route home. God knew that, in the face of such stiff opposition, the Israelites might have become discouraged and wanted to return to Egypt. The Sinai route was longer, but at least they were alive and moving forward.

The next time you hit a bump in your road—a diversion, a delay, a drastic change in your plans—remember Israel in the desert: You never know what God might be protecting you from. He can see much further down the road than you can, and He protects you accordingly.

God’s Promise:
If He changes your plans, it’s because His plans are safer for you.