Make Straight the Way of the LORD
"John said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord'", as the prophet Isaiah said." (John 1:23)
If you drive across the Great Plains of the upper Midwest, you will find roads that are as straight as an arrow for miles and miles. You will not come across a hill, a gully, or a turn of any sort for what seems like an eternity. It can be easy for a driver to lose concentration or fall asleep and drift off the road and into a field.
Then, all of a sudden, you will be driving along with the road just as straight as can be and not an obstacle to be seen and for no apparent reason whatsoever, the road will make a sudden turn to the left, then a turn to the right, and then resume straight in exactly the same direction you were going before for as far as the eye can see.
These course corrections are known to locals as "the county jog." Typically, they occur at the county line and what happened is one county built the road west to east while the neighboring county built the road east to west. When they reached the county border, they realized they were off by just a tad, so rather than remake the road they put in these "jogs" to make the roads meet. If you ask a local for directions, they will often say things like, "First left after the county jog." It seems to me, life is full of such "jogs."
Speaking to the Hebrew people in exile in Babylon, the prophet Isaiah declares, "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." As the people return from exile by a path through the wilderness, the prophet assures them the glory of God will be with them as well.
Our paths are not always straight and flat. They are filled with valleys and mountains and the occasional "county jog." We can do our part to "make straight" the path before us by seeking and discerning God's guiding presence. Yet, regardless of how crooked the way may be, the glory of God goes before us and God is present with us so that we can stay on the road, wherever it may lead.