Making a Straight Path

Proverbs 3:5-6
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.

My younger brother enjoys telling a story just to watch me blush with embarrassment at the memory.   At age eight I was driving a little tractor around our farmhouse, giving him rides in a wagon.  Round and round the house we motored, at zero warp speed,  just two kids pretending and singing and laughing.  As I was getting a bit bored on the tenth or eleventh round, I decided I knew the path well enough that I could do it with my eyes closed.  So I did.

This was an example of my inflated trust in my own understanding, leaning hard on what I felt certain was my competency to steer exactly where I needed to be.  My brother, sitting behind me, had no idea he was being transported by a voluntarily visually impaired driver, blinded by her own foolishness.

I made it  part way around the house, confident that I was turning at just the right moments.   It was going just fine when WHAM! we came to a sudden thudding stop as I rammed the side of the house due to turning too soon rather than continuing straight.   The tractor motor died, my brother was thrown onto the lawn from the abrupt halt and my eyes flew open to find myself staring at a new big dent of my very own creation in our shingle siding.

It was not easy telling my dad what had happened.  There was no way to hide the damage, and there was no reasonable story I could make up to cover up something so ridiculous as running smack into the side of a house.   All I could say was a version of  “was blind but now I see”  in a sincere plea for amazing grace.

I was eventually forgiven for that transgression and many more through the subsequent fifty years of living and I hope to be forgiven when I mess up today and tomorrow.  Each mistake reminds me of the ways I rely too heavily on my own knowledge and limited understanding, or fail to submit to His authority, or lack the capacity to trust Him with all my heart.

He does direct our paths, helps us find our way, keeps us straight and true and, most importantly, makes sure the blind can see, even if all they need to do is keep their eyes wide open and watch where they are going.

~E. Gibson


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