Straight Line or Zig Zags

"And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: (18) But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.... (21) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: (22) He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." (Exodus 13:17-18, 21-22)
We often complain about the zig-zag path on which life takes us, when we think it would be much simpler to take a short, straight line to our "promised land" goal. If the Israelites had Facebook back then, perhaps they, too, would have made funny memes about how they "just wanted to get to the Promised Land" but God took them in zig-zags all over the place first.
Verse eighteen of this passage tells us why that was - it was for their own good. They were not ready for full-on war with the Philistines, and God had some things to teach them first, mainly dependence upon Him. The short and simple, "straight-line" approach would have destroyed them.
With that zig-zag approach, however, came something wonderful: the abiding leadership of the Lord. Verses 21-22 tell us that "the LORD went before them" in the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, and that "He took not away" this obvious, visible guidance.
How about your walk with the Lord? Are you bitter that things are *not* going as simple as you imagined your walk with God? Are you frustrated that an all-powerful God won't use that power to get things done on *your* timetable? Replace that bitterness with gratefulness for the ever-abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer, and choose instead to trust and follow His leadership, realizing that He knows best!