When I lived in Thailand a friend and I took a “jungle trek.” The second day the guide told us that because of the rain we hiked through on the first day, the original route for day two was too dangerous and slick. He proposed an alternate, easier route. But if any of us wanted to take the original route — which ended at a fantastically beautiful waterfall — we could do so at our own risk. A new guide was assigned to our more adventuresome group, and off we went.
But the path was just as treacherous as the original guide said. It was steep and slick. The rivers were overflowing so we had to find new ways to cross them. The new guide was somewhere a kilometer in front of us, so we forged our way through the jungle alone.
I wish I could understand the ways this world works, the ways the Lord works. I wish I had more explanations than I currently have. I wish I could peer into the future. I wish the path He set out for His peple to walk was straighter than it usually seems. I wish I understood why the path is so often steep and slippery and the rivers we have to cross are overflowing and the guide seems so far away.
I wish things made sense.
But they often don’t.
“Consider what God has done: who can straighten what He has made crooked?” (Ecclesiastes 7:13)
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)
And I wish I understood why He sometimes makes things crooked, and why He doesn’t straighten the road when or how I want Him to. I wish I understood why people are suffering in the world, why life is sometimes hard, or why people get hurt.
I don’t like the crookedness of life.
But I’m realizing that all I can do is walk along the paths that He’s made crooked. All I can do is trust that He always leads in the roundabout ways that end up in the right direction. All I can do is trust that He is the Maker of all things and I am merely me. Dust of this earth. I will never fully understand. And He is sovereign and He sees all things and He considers my past, present and future all at once. He sees beyond the crookedness when I can’t.
And I still wish there was a straight, paved way to the place He is taking me, but there is not. So I peer ahead on the gnarled path with the sharp bends. And I hear Him say: Let me take you on the roundabout way. Embrace the crookedness. The learning lies in the curves. The adventure lies just beyond that sharp, shadowed turn right before you. Travel this narrow, crooked way. I am here. And it will always end in the right direction.
So I’m trying to listen when He says the straight ways aren’t always best and that paved roads are overrated.