Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:8 ESV
The neighborhood was a hotbed of dogs. A big, black lab was wondering loose in her front yard sniffing everything in sight. A little dachshund came around the side of a house and waited at the curb for us to pass. A small, white poodle was meandering along with its owner at the entrance to the park. I felt like a look out in enemy territory trying to keep Danni from being the sniper and getting into a dog fight. We turned left then back tracked and took another left trying to twist and turn our way home without incident.
The road before us is often filled with twists and turns as we try to avoid conflict in our day-to-day life. We listen for God’s still, small voice as we walk this way and that to determine which direction he wants us to take. We often wonder if we will ever make it home safely.
We cry out with the psalmist, asking him to make our way straight and lead us in his righteousness. When our enemies are near, we trust God to lead us through, over and around to his place of safety. John quoted Isaiah the prophet when he said he was the one calling in the wilderness ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’ (John 1:23).
We all long for straight, level paths. Like walking on a treadmill, the no incline setting will give us the exercise we need with a comfortable, easy pace. Our muscles won’t be stretched or strained like a hilly, uneven terrain. Our endurance won’t be challenged and our heart rate will stay stable. We will be safe and going forward but hardly growing.
Twists and turns encourage us to trust God in the hard times. We can’t straighten the road out on our own so we lean on God and learn perseverance. Twists and turns help us to climb to higher elevations with God without going straight up the mountain. The challenges of life help us to grow and when we face them with God, we can celebrate on the mountaintop.
God wants us to walk the straight and narrow but he promises to be with us when the road ahead is invisible as it turns around the bend. To arrive home without incident, it can’t get any straighter than one step at a time with Jesus.