I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Walking blind. Bumping along, not sure of the way, no idea where the obstacles lay. Even with a guide, it’s terrifying because I WANT TO SEE THE PATH. Let go of my arm, take off the blindfold and turn on the lights and I’ll manage just fine, thank you.
Except I won’t. Not really.
Because I see an obstacle to avoid, but my Guide walks me right up to it. “Go thru it”, He says. The obstacles are hard and painful, just let me go around. Or better still, let’s just go back where we came from. “No”, he says. “Go thru it.” And I can’t, not without my Guide. I’m blind, after all. And I’m so scared and confused and looking around and trying to figure things out and it just leaves me spiraling… So I leave my blindfold in place and go on thru, blind. He empowers, encourages, and miraculously propels.
And the rough places made smooth… It doesn’t usually happen how I think it should. I envision a magical parting of the seas, a word spoken to quiet the storm, water to wine and the party saved. A miracle I merely observe, instead of actively take part in.
But the rough places in my road, the Guide has demanded I chisel down with prayer, and hard acts of love, and the bitter tasting work of forgiveness in the deepest part of my heart. Bitter work, with sweet fruit. I meet a rough place that is a hindrance to my journey, and find my rough place to be a deep pit of self-pity and ridiculous cries of “It’s not right…” directed to the listening, loving ears of the One who endured the greatest injustice of all.
The way out of the pit is to open my mouth and give honor to people who’ve wounded me. The way out is to give people who I feel like have forgotten me the benefit of the most gracious explanation for their behavior. It’s being aware of the deep, ugly places of my soul that would even for one second want someone else to feel pain or anger, so that I’m not so alone in mine, and the way out is in joyfully accepting gentle rebuke and forgiveness for that kind of childishness that looks nothing like Him.
The rough places can indeed be made smooth. Usually, with a beautiful partnering with your Savior God who has been directing your path and laying down road, years before you even knew you’d be going anywhere.
He’s good. God’s people are good. They love well. This I know.
I jotted this down in my journal (okay, the Evernote app on my smart phone) a few months ago, still very much in a hard place of chiseling down rough places in the figurative road of life so I could move ahead. I know some of your stories who are reading this, and know that you’ve experienced heartache and disappointment in a much greater way that I can imagine – from family members, a spouse, a church, a friend. I can assure you that God sees you; He knows you feel like you’re flailing around in the dark. That’s why we have this verse; to know that feeling blind and scared and like you can’t move ahead is expected. It’s okay. The path is unfamiliar, but He’s a trustworthy guide.
I am happy to report that after almost a year of wondering exactly what kinda crazy, pot-holed, in-need-of-repair trail the Lord had us on, that the road eventually led us to a lovely destination indeed: Clarksville, TN. We have just landed this week, and are so amazingly excited to be here. Lots of exploring ahead.