Lead me, O Yahweh, in your righteousness
because of my enemies.
Make your road straight before my face.
Do y’all know about Indiana potholes?
Okay, I know it seems like EVERY Midwest and North/Northeast state has this claim to fame: big stinking potholes, especially in late winter once there’s been plenty of time for water to seep into cracks and ice to expand, turning little dents into baby sinkholes. But from personal experience, I have to say Indiana is just really, really bad about this; for example, in one of my friend’s suburban neighborhoods, they had a pothole so deep they had to stick an orange traffic cone inside…and you couldn’t see anything but the tip. So they had to stick a cone NEXT to the pothole that swallowed the previous cone–to let you know there was a cone that let you know there was a pothole.
Yes, it gets that bad.
But infrastructure and tolls and the necessary taxpayer dollars for road-fixing aside, the issue of ways and paths not easily navigable is not just a modern problem. Ancient civilizations dealt with perilous roads, too—some that were a major hazard to life and limb even before there were tires to blow out and cars to crash. Early travelers had to face their share of pits, dangerous overhangs, ruts and thorns, and less navigational assistance than a pre-Google Maps-era USA. In fact, roads were so dangerous they had to be “straightened”, or “leveled”, before a person of importance like a king would deign to use them.
I think about this a lot in terms of God’s Word. We know that His Word is perfect, without a pitfall or flaw, but sometimes our human comprehension struggles to make sense of its intricacies. Sometimes the way to follow God seems unclear, even unnavigable, as we struggle to fully grasp His heart and the reasons why He says to do one thing or behave a certain way. At times like these, we have “gaps” in our understanding of His way; the road seems thorny and difficult to maneuver.
This is when it’s so important to approach God in prayer and appeal to Him for guidance and understanding. We want a level road, a straight path that makes sense as we follow Him; we want to understand His reasons so we aren’t dragged aside by doubts and dissention or by enemies who try to make us doubt Him because of the gaps in our comprehension.
When God’s way doesn’t seem level, we aren’t doomed to stumble through it; we can approach our Heavenly Father and appeal, like the writer in Psalm 5 did, for His road to be straight before our face. Then, through wisdom and better understanding, we can walk that road paved with confidence in the intentions and goodness of our God, fearing no pit, no thorn, nor getting lost.
We can trust the road when we wholeheartedly trust the One who laid it!