Euclid famously said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I wonder if he ever mentioned this to God.
Recently, I shared my frustrations with a friend, venting about “God’s ways.”
“God can’t ever lead me down a straight path,” I sighed. “He always takes me through winding roads.”
You see, I’d grown weary planning for my 25th birthday party. Well, planning wasn’t the real problem; I had my vision down pact. The execution is what failed me.
For weeks I searched for a party venue only to be met with disappointment; my definition of affordable meant “you’re kidding, right?” to every event space in the Washington D.C. area.
Anxiety settled itself in my mind while worry pounded its stake into a piece of my heart. Frustration bounced happily off my lips.
My party was weeks away and I couldn’t even send out invitations because I didn’t have a venue. No matter how appealing my plans, I couldn’t direct guests to “hope.”
Then, out of nowhere, it seemed like God had finally answered my prayers.
I found a cool local art gallery, the owner assured me the space was available, and the icing on the cake, a friend of a friend previously had her birthday party there and she had a fabulous time.
The gallery owner and I agreed to meet the next day and I just knew it was God!
I decided to attend a church near the art gallery that Sunday and it was great. I left the service with my spirits high as eagerness rushed my legs to meet the gallery owner.
Knock, knock, knock.
Silence met me at the door.
I knocked again.
I waited…and then knocked again.
I called the owner as anxiety crept down my spine but was greeted by voicemail. Where was he?
Three phone calls, 1 voicemail and a few knocks later I headed to wait in my car—still hopeful.
For the next 45 minutes my mind hosted a battle between hope and defeat; the latter victorious.
I started my ignition. Clearly, he was not coming.
Talk about feeling confused and discouraged. Why would God seemingly lead me to this venue only for it to disappoint me? Especially when I drove all the way to Southeast DC just to attend a church near the venue!
I flipped open my bible, attempting to calm my emotions, when a small piece of paper fell out. On it was the name of a coffeehouse and event space the church owned; I jotted it down after one of the life group leaders mentioned that her group meets there.
Immediately I Googled the coffeehouse; the event space details sounded appealing, but the lack of photos kept me skeptical. A few days later I stopped to make a determination.
And the moment I stepped inside the event space I could feel the Lord tugging at my heart.
Of all the ways God could’ve led me to this absolutely perfect venue! Instead of helping me find it during one of my many Google searches, or having it come up as I asked everyone under the sun for a reference, God showed me an art gallery, which led me to a nearby church, which placed me in the necessary position to hear about the coffeehouse, which finally opened the door for everything I’d been hoping for.
If that isn’t a winding road, I don’t know what is.
At that moment all I could do was laugh and thank God for his goodness—not only in leading me to the perfect space but guiding my frustrated, God-why-can’t-you self into true wisdom.
God opened my eyes and suddenly it hit me: Why am I trying to make God ordinary when He’s everything but that?
God is creative; He is unique and has an imagination. Just look at the universe, look at how the earth so perfectly rotates around the sun at just the right degree to sustain life. Look at how complex and beautiful our bodies are, people have spent decades fascinated by the distinct design of the human eye alone!
God is an artist, a designer, an inventor; he is an original, so why would He waste His talents on straight paths when he can devise intricate and unprecedented routes?
In my Aha! moment God also revealed a couple other key truths to me:
God takes us down winding roads so we can pick up necessary things along the way. Sometimes as we endure trials, God will lead us around a curve to pick up faith, and then a hill to pick up trust and then through a valley to add on forgiveness and up a mountain to throw on some love.
Oftentimes the straight short path will forgo crucial character-building moments that are designed to help us grow.
And remember how I said God is unique? That means His approach with each of us is unique as well. Doesn’t it feel good to know that the sovereign God loves you so much that, instead of sending you down an easy, straight path that looks like everyone else’s, He will customize your route so it fits perfectly to your need and purpose?
God wants to be in relationship with us and He desires for us to fulfill our calling. That means instead of sending Shala along the same route as Sarah, God will create a tailor-made path for me, complete with the type of curves and twists He knows will not only prepare me to be the woman of God I am called to be, but to mature into a loving relationship with Him!
Isaiah 55:8 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.”
I used to find this scripture amusing, thinking God is telling us isn’t He?
But now I’ve come to appreciate the truths behind the text. My way would be a straight shot, no trials, no hardships, no frustrations. But I am so grateful that more than donning the fastest record, my Heavenly Father would rather have me arrive at my destination perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Now I’m ready for the next curve, twist, turn or loop “God’s ways” lead me.
Besides, straight is boring.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.