"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.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle." (Exodus 13:17, 18 NLT)
Sometimes when I use my map app it gives me route options. Route 1 may be the quickest, but Route 2 has less traffic or stops. Generally I chose the quickest unless I know there's something I'd rather avoid like a dangerous intersection or construction. In those cases, I'll take the longer route in hopes of it being safer.
As I read the Exodus story, this verse struck me. After 430 of captivity, the Israelites were finally free and instead of the shortest way out, God opts for the longer route. He knows that the threat of war may undo everything. He knows fear would send the Israelites running back to the security of Egypt (even though they were slaves).
In taking the Israelites the longer way, he not only kept them safe, but He showed them how real He was. If they hadn't taken the route through the Red Sea, God wouldn't have parted the waters.
God knows what we need. He knows if he leads us one way, we may turn right back around and be back at where we started. It may seem better to us, but He knows what the outcome could be. Often we take matters into our own hands thinking we know a "shorter" way instead of letting things unfold the way God intended, but we miss the miracle and do more damage in the process.
We all have out Egypts we need to get away from and Promise Lands God wants to take us to. Let Him lead. Whether it's the shortest, longest, easiest, or hardest, it will be anointed and full of miracles.