"...make straight in the desert a highway..."
"A voice cries out: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'" (Isaiah 40:3)
I was driving home a couple of weeks ago on the interstate when this street down below in South Charleston caught my attention. Immediately I thought of the verse from Isaiah, " . . . make straight in the desert a highway for our God." I was frustrated that I couldn't stop at that spot on the interstate and take a photo. Instead, it took me a good bit of time winding through neighborhoods in the daylight and dark trying to find the spot to get the photo you're seeing. Finally . . .
Having lived a great part of my life in West Virginia I can attest to the fact that we have very few straight highways. Most of our older roads wind their way over hill and mountain with sometimes such sharply curving switchbacks that GPS systems call for a right or left turn when approaching one of the hairpin curves. It's always an amazing experience when a new interstate-like highway system is built to replace one of the old swithchback-ridden two-lane roads. One such road near my hometown in southern West Virginia cut a forty-five minute struggle over the moutain curves into a three minute breeze straight through the mountain. What a relief and joy it is when one of those new highways opens!
Relationships often suffer from curves in the road. Many times I've had someone share something with me like, "I know I should tell them that this really bothers me but . . . ," or "I'm just afraid to tell them . . . " The lack of sharing important thoughts and feelings in a relationship can create many curves in the highway between the parties that ultimately makes it much more difficult (and sometimes even impossible) to experience intimacy. It can be risky to share in a relationship. Maybe the other party will misunderstand, misinterpret, or react negatively to our sharing. However, most times the risk of not sharing is even more dangerous to the relationship. Do you remember a time in an important relationship when you did risk sharing and felt such relief and joy when the curve in the road was removed and the path to feeling closer and more intimate was made straight and sure? Remember that the next time you hear yourself saying, "Maybe I shouldn't say . . . "
The season of Advent is an invitation to make the roads straight between one another and God. God sends Divine love in the Christ child to help make the highways straight. Love can help withstand the risk of sharing. I pray that God will give me the courage to build straight highways. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.