Lately I’ve had paths on my mind. Straight ones in particular.

Before Jesus began his public ministry, John the Baptist came preaching repentance because the kingdom of heaven had come near. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, John cried, “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight!” (Matt. 3:3, CSB)

And, in Proverbs 3 we read that if we trust in the Lord with all our heart—not relying upon our own understanding—and in all ways acknowledge Him, He will make our paths straight.

In this season of Lent, do you have a path that needs straightening? It seems to me a basic strategy for having straight paths is to a) remove any obstacles that might be in the way, and b) rid the surface of bumps and divots. If obstacles are not removed, travel becomes unnecessarily zig-zaggy and circuitous; if bumps and divots remain, the ride will be rough and you will likely stall out. In your journey with the Spirit, what obstacles need clearing, and what hazards need smoothing out? What is getting in the way of a clear path between you and God?

Is it possible that unconfessed sin is sitting between you and God, throwing you off course? Could guilt and shame be making your way feel rough and hopeless?

The Spirit has been prompting me to remember confession: If I will only turn from my sin, voicing my failings and asking the Lord to forgive me, He promises to make the path between us straight and easy, a clear and beautiful avenue that leads us to each other. This is his work of grace toward me. True, I have a role to play—I humbly confess my transgressions to God—but the far greater work is his. He is faithful and just in forgiving my sins, and then goes even farther and purifies me, restoring me once again to all righteousness. (1 John 1:9) I acknowledge his lordship in all parts of my life, and He makes my path straight.

How have you experienced God’s cleansing forgiveness in the past? Do you long for that forgiveness again? Are you sensing that there is some road work to do with Jesus in this pre-Easter season? Ask God to reveal any obstacles that stand between the two of you, confess, and receive his forgiveness. He longs to be merciful to you.

If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  —1 John 1:8-9 (CSB)

American Cemetery Black & White

American Cemetery, Normandy France, 2012