“Dear Applicant #601,
Today you officially failed the California Bar Exam… Who will you be now?”
That’s how a started a letter I recently wrote to myself. I don’t tell you about this failure for you to feel sorry for me, or to feel sorry for myself. I share this publically because in the midst of a really heartbreaking low I’ve found a little beauty here too…
It is the utter shock… Knot in my stomach… Numbing tears, that all describe the depth of this failure. And if you’ve ever seen your hard work and dreams drift just out of your reach, you understand the darkness of the place I’m talking about. But that’s only what I saw at first.
A long couple of months ago God took me through the book of Exodus. I got stuck when I read, “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.’” (Exodus 13:17 (NLT)).
He opened my eyes and helped me realize that the long way isn’t the wrong way, because what the people didn’t know at the time was that God was protecting them when he took them the long way… Along a route that they couldn’t see instead of the short route which was visible. At the time I came to this revelation I shared it with a friend who identified, and I was blessed yesterday when he threw it back at me and challenged me to believe it myself.
I would never pray for pain like this on myself, or on anyone else. But for reasons that may never truly make sense to me it’s been written into my journey. In my letter, I told Applicant #601 that the short path looks good now, but only God knows what was waiting to overtake me on that route.
So I’m not happy about the long journey ahead of me, and if you are experiencing an obstacle that seems too big to overcome, you may relate. But in this place where my desires are clashing with God’s will for my life, I’ve found what it means to pick up my cross: to give meaning to my suffering… By adjusting my plan… To fit His purpose.
So will you join me as we travel the long route we can no longer see? … Even when the main road is right in front of us?
That’s step one to the Promised Land.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22 (NIV)