I serve at a church that is 180 years old this year. Over 100 years ago (literally), the church was looking to re-locate to a more strategic location to stay better connected to the community in which they were located. This was not an easy decision to make and there was plenty of conversations, meetings and deliberations to figure out where exactly to go next.
It appeared that the church found the ideal location...for them.
This new location, however, did not work out so well for one member and their family to be able to get to church to worship. You see, there was a large wooded area between the church's new location and this member's farm land. This was back in an age before cars became commonplace, and making the trip would not be practical, nor easy. You can imagine the tension in the room when the group feels like they have finally reached a consensus, only to come to that deflated realization that there is more work to be done.
At the heart of my writing and speaking is this quest for clarity. This is far from some elitist pursuit of communication, in fact, I believe it is an act of service to whomever would read or listen to what I have to say. But more than that, I believe this quest is spiritual.
My faith is my compass for life. I regularly look to the Bible for wisdom and guidance. It is there that I find the source of faith, hope, and love in Jesus. Jesus is the embodiment of God's love for all of us. I love Scripture, but it is challenging. One of the fundamental challenges is this concept of the straight path. It is the straight path that is pleasing to God. The writer of Proverbs describes how God will make your path straight.
"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."
John the Baptist was the clarifying voice who was sent to proclaim the good news about Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. This verse is written by Mark, but was actually a prophecy from Isaiah from hundreds of years earlier:
"...a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him."
This is my hope in writing, that straight paths will be created to see God at work. God is still speaking to us through the pages of Scripture and through those who are devoting their lives to living by their teachings.
I have spent the last decade dedicating my life to pointing people of all ages to the living God. I don't believe that this is a fruitless endeavor. There are kids giving up time each week to memorize Scripture. There are organizations started to make a dent in the hunger problem in their community. There are college students who change courses and move to foreign lands to pursue the calling that God has to reach a new people group with the good news of Jesus. There are people diagnosed with cancer who soldier through chemotherapy remembering that in this world they will have trouble, but they can take heart because Jesus has overcome the troubles of this world.
One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is vague and at the same time so inspiring:
"Jesus did many other things as well.
If every one of them were written down,
I suppose that even the whole world
would not have room for the books
that would be written."
Back to that group, way back when, that was looking to re-locate the church building. They heard about the difficulty that the relocation would cause and it wasn't long before one of the men leading the re-location project offered to create a straight path between the new location and the farm. This story is inspiring to me, and hope it will serve to move you to see that creating straight paths are worth the work.