At the Intersection of Mercy and Truth

My friend Ben and I sat outside the coffeeshop across the street from the freeway. This particular portion of interstate is a bridge and driving across, you can look out on the relatively humble city in which we live. The zip codes are different on either side. Against the background noise of the cars on both the street and the bridge, Ben proceeds to tell me about how the freeway (as a thing–anywhere) began as a lowly footpath through uncharted territory and was then followed up and expanded upon by those who came after. Until eventually, sites and cities and more sprung up around their latticework.

The light gray concrete slopes on the sides of the bridge are overgrown with blackberry brambles and bordered by chain-link fence. So climbing up to the freeway is more than just irrational and dangerous, it’s also painful. About a week ago, however, I stood outside the same coffeeshop as a gargantuan tree limb snapped off and crashed over a section of fence, bowing it down to the ground. One, were they crazy enough, could vault over and be on their way north or south! Where are we going with this?

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Walking the leylines

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)

Like most things symbolic, you can follow it back to a source. But if that source doesn’t flow in line with God’s character, it will lead you astray. And what better way to illustrate the simplicity of following God, than by using the parallel of the “line”? A “ley” or “lea” is a stretch of ground that is not ready yet for planting. The only way is to till the ground. To walk across and pave the way. Granted, we’re mixing planting and also exploratory metaphors here but God always leaves fruit in His wake. A “leyline” is like the longitude/latitude or a meridian on the earth. Direct routes from one place to another and also strategically located markers in place. The lines themselves are not the source of the power, it’s that God is directing you and you’re following Jesus on your journey. The truth is, we really can’t go anywhere that Jesus hasn’t already been.

“He (and she) that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)

A long row to hoe

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10)

“And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:7-8)

The above passage is saying that no one whose heart is not right with God will be allowed on His road. The verse prior, however, shows that whatever path you may find yourself on as we speak, is one of mercy and truth. And remember: “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6) A right heart with a wrong head is worth the world to God. He can make your journey turn out for the best no matter in what direction you set your first footstep. The trick is to find it, to get on it and to keep moving. And if you don’t see one, ask God to pave the way for you so that you can do the same for those coming after.

“And he said, I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory. And He said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” (Exodus 33:18-19)

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