The feeling has subsided but little, this feeling of being adrift. The picture I have in my mind is that of a boat tacking back and forth aimlessly, crisscrossing the waters, but without a destination in view. Or of a traveller, lost in the wilderness, stumbling this way and that, unsure which direction to point his nose. These are the pictures in my mind as I consider my own life. I am trying to move in the right direction, but that direction is not always clear to me.
Enter: Sunday worship. As part of our time of reflection (Scripture and songs), up on the screen pops a verse so familiar that for years I actually avoided it because it had ceased to have any meaning to me. I bet you know it too:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. --Proverbs 3:5-6
WHAM! Right.between.the.eyes! He...Will...Make...Your...Paths...Straight.
Uhh...How do I arrive at my destination? It is NOT by fixing my eyes on my destination. It is by fixing my eyes on Jesus and trusting and acknowledging HIM, and then HE makes my path straight...even if I don't have a clue where I'm going. Even if my path seems crazily skewed, it is the straightest path possible on God's map. (I knew this on some level, but this is hitting a whole new level... Don't know if I'm explaining this well...)
Do you remember that old adage, "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line"? I think I view life kinda like that. Maybe not the shortest distance part, but that the journey should be linear. I remember when my dad taught me to draw a straight line...by looking at where I wanted the line to end, my destination. But God's paths don't seem to work that way. In fact, I'm starting to think that God-journeys may be more geometric than I first imagined. And yet somehow, those are the straight paths.
All of this was brought to mind again today when I stopped by my friend Beth's website. She had this verse posted (on a lovely printable card, too, if you wanna stop by):
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10
What was my focus through that overwhelming decision-making process? God, what would bring you glory? But what does He say here? J, don't fret so much. I am God; don't lose sight of that. Rest in me. Don't worry; I am working out the 'exalted' part. I WILL be exalted (glorified). Really. You don't have to stress this one.
Exhale. Deep inhale and exhalation again. Not only am I on the straight path, but God is accomplishing the goal that He made my heart claim: His glory. How good He is, and how good He is to me. Pure grace. Such mercy.
It may take awhile yet for all parts of my heart and mind to grasp this--I am filled with uncharacteristic doubt right now--but the Truth has a way of always routing out the falsehood. And so I trust that at some point, even if my route seems circuitous, I will truly know that I am still on--and have never left--the straight path. And somehow, I'm guessing this is a tiny part of the glory He gets, at least in my little corner of the world.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. --Hebrews 12:1-3