As I was reading with my family in Alma Chapter 7 one phrase struck me, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. So I thought it'd be a good one to write down! In Alma 7:19-20 it talks about paths of righteousness, the path that leads to the kingdom of God, and "making his paths straight." I had always just rushed over these phrases, never giving it too much thought. My thoughts usually ran along the lines of "How can I make his paths straight?? His paths are already straight! He has given us the guides to make our own paths straight through his perfect example. So how can I make His paths straight??
This had me pretty puzzled for awhile. Then I started thinking about making paths. If God directed me to build a path for Him, I would be the one in charge of actually planning and building it. It would still be His path, but I would technically be making it. So if I wanted to make His path straight, literally speaking I would have to build a perfect, straight, unwinding path. That is not a job I'd want to take on! (Some of our engineers would probably jump at the opportunity, but not me!)
Okay, so now I've figured out how to make His path, and even how to think about making it straight. But I don't think that this phrase is intended to be a literal direction. We'd waste far too much time and energy on such a project. What I feel that it means is that we are to make His paths straight through our lives. What we do every day, the choices we make, the direction we go, is creating a path. It's a path that we've been directed by God to build, but it's really for us to travel on. And if we want God to join us on our journey, that path will have to be straight. It states very clearly that "he cannot walk in crooked paths," which means that He cannot travel on the path we are building for Him unless we are making it straight. When we are making the right choices and following His commandments and His guidance, we are continually "making his paths straight." And I think He rejoices to be able to walk beside us, to direct us and nudge us when our path starts to get off course. We have the ultimate engineer helping us to take steps forward and watching us closely to make sure that those steps line up and create a straight path. A straight path to Him.
I hope the way that I explained this made sense. It's one of those concepts that I can grasp and I feel the explanation to, but it's harder to put into words. I'm just thankful for the reminder that I'm here to build a beautiful straight path for the Lord and that He'll be there every step of the way with me.