Sometimes an image sticks with you for a few minutes, sometimes a few days, sometimes longer. I’ve had a mental image from a flight that has resurfaced many times since this fall when I spied it out an airplane window.
As I flew over the South Dakotan plains I watched little streams wind through the farms. They zigged, zagged, twisted and turned their way through the land. And I couldn’t help question why they didn’t move straight from one place to the next. Why the extra effort to snake around trees and slip through fields? Why the added work for farmers to determine the best way to develop the land around the streams? Wouldn’t it be so much more efficient to slide straight from one place to the next?
And that’s when I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit say that life is like these little streams. There’s no quick path to our final destination. The stream of our life twists, turns and doubles-back as we make decisions, develop relationships and encounter obstacles. Only for short periods of time does our life push ahead in a straight path before it takes a turn and causes us – and our surroundings – to adapt.
It’s what creates a beautiful landscape. The twisting streams that erode the land on one side also create space for new life on the other. Similarly, the challenges we face in life also create the best opportunities for success. Our call is to see both sides and embrace the twists and turns of life!