Genesis 13: 17-18
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
Genesis 13: 21-22
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give thme light, so that they could travel by day or night. NIether the pilar of cloud by day nor the pilar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
In the first two verses God explains his reason for taking his people through the desert toward the Red Sea. The shorter route would make it too easy for the Israelites to give up if they were attacked and flee back to Egypt.
These verses apply in our lives today. If God allowed us to take the easy route in our lives we too may give up when things get tough. By forcing us to experience difficulties in our lives and taking the more difficult route we may come to realize how much we need to rely on God to get us through each circumstance. Our faith becomes stronger because of a struggle, more so than if our life is pretty easy.
Where is God while He is taking us through these difficult journeys? He is in exactly the same place as He was with the Israelites. He is leading us. He is in front of us not letting us see what is to come but lighting and guiding each step that we take. He's taking care of the future as He guides us through today.
This is yet another example of God's grace. Always present in our lives. Never abandonning us. Essentially, God leads us and never leaves us.