“12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”–Hebrews 12:12-13 ESV; from Ash Wednesday readings in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.
When I was in Jr. High attending Camp Washington one summer, I tripped over a root and wrenched my knee. If you’ve ever been to Camp Washington, you know this is not an uncommon occurrence. The uncommon thing about it though was that despite being wrapped in an Ace bandage for the rest of the week, my knee ached sporaticially for years after that. Until…until I went to Wheaton College. Did I receive a radical healing at the hands of a visiting evangelist? Nope. I just realized one day in the spring semester that my knee hadn’t bothered me for months, nor has it bothered me since then.
What happened? Well, from what I can figure out it was all the walking I did on straight and level ground. In Sr. High, I just kept using my knee like I always had, riding my bike, eventually learning to drive a stick shift car, occasionally–when coerced or graded–playing sports. All of these things continually turned my knee in odd ways. None of those would have been a problem before The Camp Washington Incident, but afterwards, they just reinjured my knee.
But walking daily on flat surfaces, to every class, to meals, to the library, to my dorm; this straight walking strengthened my knee, so that when it did get twisted, it no longer got injured. Because of the way God made me, “straight exercise” healed my knee.
The thing that’s so remarkable about this verse from Hebrews is that it asks us to “make straight paths for your feet.” Usually when I pray for someone in a difficult part of their journey, I pray that God would make their path straight. But there are times when the onus is on us to make our own straight paths, to choose to do the consistent, flat, monotonous thing that will put us on a path of healing. Our Lenten disciplines can be just such path-straighteners.
Lord, show me to those disciplines which will put me on a path of healing and wholeness, for the sake of your glory. Amen.