Don’t you just love a good shortcut?
A special route that’s all your own that lets you leave that long line of traffic behind?
If you live in a congested area, shortcuts can be such a joy, and one reason I love turning on Poppy—which is the name of my Google Maps girl so named for the star character in the movie Trolls.
Although we’ve lived in the Ocala area for several years now, I’d still get lost if I didn’t have my trusted Poppy to tell me how to get where I need to go.
And when I let her pick the route, she always provides the shortcuts I’d never know about if left up to my own devices.
Of course, there are other types of shortcuts besides those we use behind the wheel—and sometimes they can lead to pitfalls we don’t quite expect.
When shortcuts lead to pitfalls
Though shortcuts can be beneficial, they can also be a hazard if not applied in the right way.
For instance, taking a shortcut in manufacturing may reduce the quality of a product—which can hurt both customers and the reputation of the brand that created it.
Shortcuts in construction can lead to structures that may not last very long—or worse, be unstable and unsafe.
And don’t even get me started on the list of problems that can occur when shortcuts are taken in healthcare.
The various ways that shortcuts can lead to pitfalls would create a very long list, and I’m sure you get my drift.
Sometimes shortcuts are helpful and sometimes they’re either a hindrance or just outright harmful.
The motivation behind shortcuts
Examining and understanding motivation is a big deal in all kinds of scenarios—including the shortcuts we decide to take.
As a general category, motivation captures both positive and negative dynamics.
When it comes to shortcuts, positive dynamics may include:
- profitability; and
- a desire to be good stewards of our time.
Negative dynamics may include:
- profitability (yes, that one makes both lists); and
- a lack of concern about the impact of our actions on someone else.
When I consider God’s opinion about shortcuts, I’m quite sure He’s not pleased when we take them based on the latter list.
And certainly, if He’s not part of the process, likely it’s not a shortcut that’s part of His plan.
We’re all vulnerable to shortcut-pitfalls
Although Abraham and Sarah were both close to God, they took a major shortcut that created quite a mess.
Genesis describes God’s promise to Abraham that He would make him the father of many nations (Genesis 12: 1-4; 15).
The problem was, Abraham was getting pretty old, and so was his wife, Sarah.
And though they desperately wanted children, that just hadn’t happened yet.
Still, they intended to believe God and embraced the promise of parenthood.
However, after 10 years of waiting for Him to fulfill His promise, Sarah finally gave up and offered her maidservant, Hagar, to Abraham so he could have the offspring God had promised (Genesis 16:1-4).
Unfortunately, Abraham agreed and all three of them stepped into a shortcut that created quite a mess.
You can read more about the mess in Genesis 16 and Genesis 21:9-21, but the bottom line is that trusting God to fulfill His promise would’ve been a much better decision than moving forward with their own plans.
We’re all vulnerable to this dynamic that played out in Abraham and Sarah’s lives.
After all, in our impatience about this or that, it can be tempting to latch onto a shortcut that may not be part of God’s plan for us.
And God’s plan is always, always better than our own.
We never have to accept the shortcut-solutions of the world that are not part of what God wants for us.
Because the Creator of the Universe will provide all that we need.
But sometimes we have to be patient and trust God as we wait.
Being faithful in prayer, study of the Word, and abiding in Him as we do.