Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Take the Shortcut

“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
I like taking the scenic tour, however, when time is of the essence, I want the shortcut. Find the quickest route from Point A to Point B. Simple geometry teaches that to find the shortest distance simply draw a straight line connecting both points and “Presto”, there’s the shortcut.
Proverbs 3:6 states God straightens out our paths when we trust Him. He makes a shortcut for us. Why then does it take so long to get to where we need to be? Perhaps our understanding of the mathematical principle is faulty. Is the shortest distance between two points always a straight line connecting them? Yes and no.
Sound contradictory? This principle is true when applied to a level surface. In that case the line is straight in direction and elevation. When applied to an uneven surface the line curves up and down in order to maintain direction. Technically, it ceases to be straight. Engineers tackle this problem all the time. Tunnels are cut through mountains; bridges span valleys and waterways producing a level, straight road. Most drivers enjoy the shortcut blissfully unaware of the enormity of the project; the time and monies spent and the difficulty, if not impossibility of travel before the highway’s completion.
Isaiah 40:3-5 prophetically foretold the ministry of John the Baptist, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3). The prophet described the process of preparing for a king’s arrival. In Isaiah’s time before a monarch visited a region an advance team was dispatched. Their mission: build a roadway suitable for the king’s trip. The goal: remove obstacles, level depressions, smooth out rough surfaces and make the journey as comfortable as possible.
Depicted is an enormous construction project: valleys filled in, mountains and hills removed, rugged areas made level. He wasn’t talking about the building of a literal highway but the process of repentance that paves the way for the King of King’s arrival.
            We all have aspects of our lives and personalities which, left unchecked, hinder God’s plans and His work in us. Mountains of pride, unbelief and outright lies need to be removed. Our tendency to avoid conflict and by-pass difficult situations must be straightened out. Valleys of self pity, hopelessness and despair filled in with faith and hope. Our peculiarities and quirks undergo sanding to smooth rough edges. Labor intensive, this work takes time. God makes our paths straight but doesn’t cut corners during the process. This might explain the perception that we’re traveling a long time with little forward progress.
            We’ve grown accustomed to instant access to solutions. Technology ramps up the pace of life. God, the author and inventor of the advances we enjoy operates at a different speed. As a master craftsman and builder He takes all the time necessary to achieve the desired result. Unshackled by time as we know it, He’s in no hurry. It may feel like it takes forever but God lays out the direct path between where we are and where He needs us to be. So, take the shortcut.

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