When we remember that Israel wandered in the desert on their way out of Egypt, we remember, too, that it was because of their sin and disobedience. It was because they kept grumbling and turning their hearts away from God, so He waited to give them the Promised Land until their hearts were ready for it.
That is true.
But it isn't the whole truth.
If we read the story again, we see that God never intended to take Israel straight from Egypt to Canaan, at least not by the shortest, most-direct route. He always planned to take them the long way around.
Because, He said, He knew that when they came to certain places, they were going to face certain enemies. He knew what those enemies would bring against His people, and He knew how captive His people's hearts still were. They simply didn't have a lot of fight in them, and His Word plainly says that He knew that if He took them by the shortest, most-direct route, they would lose heart the first time they had to fight, and they would give up on themselves, give up on Him, and turn back to Egypt (even more quickly than they actually did). There was no way He was going to lead His people into a fight He knew they weren't ready for.
The same is true for you and me.
We want our lives to go in a straight line. We want to take the shortest distance between here and there. When we hear God speak a promise over our lives, we want to get there as quickly as possible.
But God often knows more than we do - about the journey and about our own hearts. He knows sometimes that if He takes us the shortest, most-direct way to the promise, we're going to encounter enemies we aren't ready for. We're going to run into things we're not prepared to deal with. We might get discouraged and decide that the promise isn't really for us...or maybe it's really not so good after all. We might turn back.
God knows how much fight you have in you, and He's not willing to put you up against something you're not ready for. Not even on the way to His promise.
So if you're taking the long way around right now, I know it's frustrating. But what if God is doing that on purpose...and for your good? What if He's taking you to the promise while keeping you from a fight?