I have told this story many times, but right now I have friends who feel lost, even forsaken, and I want to encourage them with it.
When I was in the first grade, my next door neighbor, Margo, was in the fifth. Every day she would walk me to Fishweir Elementary School. The walk was less than a mile with the shortcuts, but to a first grader, it seemed a long way.
Several months after school started, Margo got sick. When the dismissal bell rang, there was no Margo, I went to the office and told them I did not know my way home. They called my dad.
I was so glad to see him when he arrived until he explained that it was time for me to learn to walk alone. I cried and protested, but he assured me he would follow in the car, and I would be safe. I was very afraid, but given no choice, I began. True to his word, he followed.
Then we came to one of the shortcuts, the only way I knew. Daddy couldn’t drive across the field. Surely he would let me ride now. But, no, he said he would be waiting on the other side. And he was.
The final shortcut was across a foot bridge, but that was only a half a block to the house. Finally, I was home free.
Little did I know decades ago that the walk home was a blueprint of my life to come. There were shortcuts I would take because it was all I knew. Some were good shortcuts. Some were never intended to be. I just wanted to get to the finish line. When I took a shortcut, good or bad, I lost sight of my Heavenly Father, but when I recovered myself, He stood there waiting.
Often a novice trucker will take a shortcut when traffic is backed up. But the experienced driver knows that with the load he has been designated to carry, not every detour is good or even safe. In fact, the wrong detour could cause him to lose his load.
Today stay on the road set before you.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. Josh. 1:7