Flying home yesterday, I saw some beautiful landscapes out the window. This particular sight really appealed to me. Any guesses as to why?
You probably figured it out: I love the perfect little lines. I love how the land is divided equally and exquisitely. How I long for my life to look like this landscape! It brings to mind a familiar scripture:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Until now, I never really noticed all of the criteria in these verses for straight paths. We must trust completely. It requires a consistent leaning on His wisdom and guidance instead of our own understanding. We must always submit to Him. Only then will our paths be straight, smooth, and level.
Let us not forget that since our lives are so intertwined with others, that straight paths are also contingent on other people trusting, leaning, submitting to the Lord.
When I looked out the window a bit later, God showed me that life is much more like this landscape:
He drew my attention specifically to the river. Life is full of twists and turns as we operate in a fallen world, dealing with our own failures and those of the people in our lives. Like a river, our lives often double back over territory we thought we’d already covered. Sometimes it runs deep and we feel like we’re in over our heads, and sometimes it’s shallow and we find a rare ease.
The problem lies in expectations. I continue to long for perfect little lines. I anticipate predictable territory laid out in one mile squares. So much of my disappointment comes from my desire for ease in the midst of a challenge or adventure with twists and blind turns.
This morning it occurred to me that God has the great advantage of seeing things from this aerial, heavenly perspective while I see it only from the ground. I can’t see where I’m headed like He can. Since life isn’t laid out in perfect little lines, I can’t see what’s coming next. I just have to keep trusting that He is guiding me and getting me back on track when I lose my way.
God says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3) If our lives were laid out like that first Kansas landscape all nice and straight, then we would clearly see what is before us. However, God has managed to use the twists and turns to show us great and mighty things that we would never know otherwise.
Cause my heart to trust You, Lord, and release me from my desire for what is safe, orderly and predictable. Increase my desire for You, for Your Word, and all of Your ways.