Turns in the River.

A few weeks ago, my daughter, Cora, and I were watching an animated movie on Netflix that was filled with epic adventures of fire-breathing dragons and magical swords. Don’t judge. I found it quite calming to turn my brain off for an hour or so, knowing that there would be no hefty parallels to my real life in this fantasy world. That is until one of the characters began explaining what “real life” was actually like.

“Life is like a river. You can’t see too far ahead. You don’t know where the river of life will bend and turn.

You don’t know where it will go at all. You cannot control where the river goes. However, there is one thing you can know and control, yourself. Look at yourself. Who are you…? What do you stand for? Once you know that, then wherever the river takes you, you’ll be right where you were always meant to be.”

I hadn’t anticipated hearing from God through Netflix that night, but here we are. 

I’ve recently been reading through the four Gospels, and as I listened to what the Blind Pirate told the Dragon Prince (I told you not to judge), it reminded me of something I had read that resonated with this idea of life being like a river and how we don’t have any control over it. 

Prepare the Way!

In all the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the authors document John the Baptist quoting the prophet Isaiah who said, “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

Matthew 3:3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

Mark 1:2-3 “…as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

Luke 3:4 “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” 

John 1:23 ” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

As I was reading those passages over in each Gospel, I got the feeling that God was saying,

“If you do this for me, I will do this for you.”

Have you noticed other places in the Bible where ‘straight paths’ are mentioned? Check these out…

Hebrews 12:13 “Make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” 

Psalm 5:8 “O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me.” 

Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 

Boom! There it is.

If we make a straight path to Him, clearing the distractions of our mind, and create room for Him to come into our lives, He will make our paths straight.

The interesting part of being on a river is that often the turn is so wide it almost looks straight. However, when looking from an aerial view, you can see the river is often crazy crooked. Most times, we want to see what is coming up ahead, but we were not made to handle those bends and curves on our own. We are wired to be dependent on God. 

It already seems that 2020 is going to be a winding, twisty, turny kind of year, steeped in anticipation and already flowing at a rapid pace. We still have 11 months this year, and who knows what twists and turns are ahead, But we follow a God who says it’s okay to ask for favor. Favor of clearer vision. Favor for a straighter path. 

We can’t control what’s around the bend, but we can choose our posture in the river. 

So, here I am choosing to ‘prepare the way’ for God to move. Knowing that He is somehow making my path straight because He loves me…and I asked. I hope you will join me. 

In His service and at yours, ~Shawn

Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

4 thoughts on “Turns in the River.

  1. As I went down to the river to pray
    Studying about that good of’ way
    And who shall wear a robe and crown
    Lord, show me the way!🎶🎵🎹🎼🎶🎵


  2. Powerful, powerful, powerful! Excellent food for thought,. Thank you for the time you spend in researching these messages,and writing to us.Hugs


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