When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.Exodus 13:17-18
When God led Israel out of Egypt, it says in Exodus 13 that he didn’t take them on the shortcut to the promised land because it would have taken them past the Philistines and war would have been the result. That route may have been quicker, but God knew it wouldn’t have been better for Israel. Instead he took them a longer way into the wilderness so they wouldn’t lose hope and turn back to Egypt. God knew Israel better than they knew themselves. So he graciously took them on a longer path.
I sometimes wonder and worry why my path in life doesn’t look more like someone else’s. I’ll ask God, “why can’t my journey look more like that person’s?” But just like Israel leaving Egypt, God knows me better than I know myself. He knows my deepest motivations, weaknesses, and worries. He knows other routes may have been quicker for me, but they wouldn’t have been better. When I understand this, I can see how gracious he truly is to have me on this path instead of any other path. This frees me from the worry or despair that comparing my journey to others can cause. There is purpose and grace in our individual paths that we can’t skip over.