When Pharoah 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.Exodus 13, V 17.
I sometimes feel that life should be easier. Not that it's always a struggle, but sometimes even the little things can be, like making sure the dishes are done and there are clean clothes for us all to wear. I know that my small problems fade to grey when compared to the enormity of some lives lived (and cut short), but I also know this knowledge doesn't always make it easier to get past my circumstances.
Exodus states that God wanted to challenge the Israelites - if He made it easy for them, it would not be worthwhile. Despite all this, they kept ignoring the word of God. (Our Children's Bible is almost hilarious on this; every new 'story' for about a month began, 'but then the Israelites forgot what God had taught them'....)
It's not that I think that God's plans for me are deliberately awkward though; it's more accepting that life is not straightforward: there will always be hiccups in the road, understanding why things happen is always going to be tricky, and the route to our personal, spiritual Promised Land is going to twist and turn. But these are the places where we learn the most, where we are pushed outside of our comfort zones, and learn how to bring more to ourselves, and to others.
I don't mean any of this 'if it was easy, we wouldn't appreciate it' stuff or 'whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger'. I'm talking about lifepaths that may not always go the way we want or expect them to, times when we realise we need to relinquish control about our issues, and let things unfold around us. I trust God to lead me there in the end, and to teach me a few key points along the way. But sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in making sure things go 'as planned'. Panicking about the future and trying to make too many decisions in a day are things that sometimes need to be let go (and I don't mean "how much junk food will I allow myself today".)
Everyone surely has a moment where they are derailed from the beaten path, finding themselves on a road they didn't mean to explore. This happens literally, when we take a wrong turning on the way to a holiday destination and end up experiencing some wonderful aspect of nature or particularly entertaining human sight. I have never particularly enjoyed venturing into unknown areas, but I know their importance, and what I will miss if I don't go there.
There is no need for fear or resistance, I just need to follow where I am being led.