God’s way is often not our way. His perfect path isn’t the one we always foresee for ourselves. His way is higher and wiser and better.

After Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, the Lord directed his people toward the Promised Land. A pillar of cloud led them by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21). He guided his people; they made their steps with ease and comfort. He was with them.

But then the Lord lovingly took his children on a detour to both test and teach. He called them to camp on the beach in front of the Red Sea (Exod. 14:1–2). He ordained this curious campout because he knew a hardened Pharaoh would see it as an opportunity to pounce on his people again (Exod. 14:3). God commanded Israel to camp there so they would be pressed by uncertain circumstances.

What strange love this is, that the Lord would put his people in a position of danger and distress—on purpose?

Unforeseen Path

Just as God predicted, Pharaoh rallied his army and pursued them as they camped in this precarious position. As the chariot wheels bore down on their resting place, Israel’s backs were pressed against the shore of the Red Sea. What would God do? All the people could imagine was that God had brought them out of Egypt to let them die on a barren beach like abandoned children (Exod. 14:10–12).

They had no way of escape. But the Lord did. He always does.

As Pharaoh and his bloodthristy army were gaining ground, Moses shouted to the people: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exod. 14:13). God was about to transform their campground of certain death into a stage on which he would display his faithful love.

He had a plan to deliver his people.

What was his way? Psalm 77:19 tells us: “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters.”

God’s way was the unforeseen way. It was the unimaginable path. Israel could have never devised the plan he had known forever. Moses could have never included the shortcut through the sea on his itinerary for the Canaan-bound children of God.

God’s way was through the sea.

Faithful, Not Predictable

His ways are not our ways, are they? His ways are higher than ours. And they’re wiser than ours. And they’re better than ours (Isa. 55:8–9).

Remember this, child of God: our Father often acts unconventionally. He likes to choose the unseen path for his people to walk. But he always has a way to save. Sometimes it’s through the sea. He’ll always provide, but often from sources we would never suspect (1 Kings 17:8–16; Matt. 6:25–34).

God is faithful, but he’s rarely predictable.

God is trustworthy, and he’s marvelously creative in the way he cares for us. He delights in bringing us home by way of the sea so that after we’ve set our feet on the dry land of our destination, the only thing we can say is “God did this.” In the end, he charts his way through the sea so that he will “get glory” and all will “know that [he is] the LORD” (Exod. 14:4).

Nothing exemplifies this truth more than God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ. Who could’ve ever imagined God would save rebels by becoming like them, dying for them, and rising to save them?

As the apostle Paul exclaims, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33).

To Strengthen, Not to Destroy

I’m not sure what provision, protection, or direction you need from God today, but remember this: God’s way is often through the sea.

He puts his children in precarious positions on purpose. He doesn’t do this to destroy our faith; he does it to strengthen it. And once he’s helped us step across the threshold of our straining circumstances, we will see him as the wise and trustworthy Redeemer he is.

He designs his way through the sea so that his children will look back on their lives and forever see that his ways are good and his love is faithful.

Trust him today, child of God. Follow his way—even when it leads you through the sea.