The scenic route

The Covington News - - Religion - JAN MCCOY COLUM­NIST

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.

Ex­o­dus 13:17-18 (New Liv­ing Trans­la­tion)

Have you ever taken a trip, the scenic route? I was on a trip not too long ago, and tired of trav­el­ing the same route over and over as I had for years, I de­cided to go by way of an­other road — the “back roads.” Now, while this may not have been the most di­rect route, I did hear and see things that I would not have ex­pe­ri­enced along the free­way. I heard ci­cadas singing. I saw tur­tles tak­ing leisurely strolls across the road. I even had to stop at four-way stop signs in the mid­dle of ru­ral towns in Ge­or­gia — you know, those towns with more char­ac­ter than busi­nesses. It was ab­so­lutely an amaz­ing ad­ven­ture, and I would have missed those ex­pe­ri­ences had I taken the fast track — the free­way.

Robert Frost once wrote a poem about “the road less trav­eled.” The Is­raelites had not read that poem be­fore they struck out on their faith jour­ney with Moses and God. The story as told in Ex­o­dus gives a rea­son for the path taken through the “wilder­ness” — the “back roads” on their jour­ney to the promised land. As the story re­lates, the peo­ple were not ready for fac­ing trauma of war in their frag­ile post-slav­ery state, so God led them on “the road less trav­eled” — the scenic tour. Dur­ing this jour­ney, they learned to trust God, to de­pend on God for their im­me­di­ate phys­i­cal needs, and they learned to trust Moses as their leader. Al­though the jour­ney was not the most di­rect route to their des­ti­na­tion, it was the best for build­ing their char­ac­ter and faith.

There is an old Chi­nese proverb that says, “The jour­ney is the re­ward.” This life is a jour­ney. For some the jour­ney is long; for oth­ers, far too short. God was build­ing char­ac­ter in the lives of the Is­raelites as they learned to trust God through the dif­fi­cul­ties and tri­als of the “scenic route.”

What is God try­ing to teach you on your scenic route?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the as­so­ciate pas­tor of Cov­ing­ton First United Methodist Church in down­town Cov­ing­ton. She may be reached at

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