Recently, a gas station near my office underwent a major renovation and modernized their facilities. Just the other day, they had a new sign out asking, ”Checked your alignment lately?”
I still remember my last station wagon, which was a Dodge Aspen wagon. I had it for so long that I felt as if the four wheels were part of my extremities, subject to my total control. One summer, after a friend of mine had used it for moving, he gave me a surprising feedback.
“It is a very useful station wagon but the alignment is very poor.”
“But…I’ve never noticed it,” I retorted.
“That’s because you are used to the malalignment.” He tried to explain the situation to me gently. I soon realized that he was right. The problem was confirmed when I took the car in for an alignment check. The mechanic demonstrated to me that my car would go towards the right if allowed free to go. That was my first experience with malalignment.
When my daughter saw the new sign, before I had a chance to explain to her what “alignment” meant, she gave me a smile and told me that she knew the word.
“Where did you learn the word ‘alignment’?” I asked curiously.
“In school, during our computer class.” She replied with some pride.
“Computer class?” My curiosity doubled.
“The alignment bar is the square box on the screen that keeps your prints straight.”
That sounded like a very useful definition of alignment : to keep us going straight.
The same principle may be applied to real life. It is very easy for us to deviate from the straight path. Indeed, once we are accustomed to the deviated form, we may not even notice it.
The hymn writer, Robert Robinson, probably from his own experience, wrote, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”
The hymn reflects upon the inward drift that must be regularly checked by measuring our thoughts and values against the eternal truths that have been revealed through the Scriptures and the mighty acts of God.
When the psalmist was pondering about the path of his life, he recognized what was needed to keep him straight. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.” (Ps. 119:105)
We are daily the objects of bombardment of messages competing for our loyalties and labors. We are being pushed and pulled in a thousand different directions to invest our resources and our time. The only way to keep straight is to follow the divine alignment bar which is the Word of God.
Have you checked the alignment of your life lately?