From Isaiah 45:2-3 (NAS): “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”
Tom and I have been in some rough places in the last year. There have been some rough roads to travel and some rough trails to hike. I imagine our year has been very similar to yours, because every year has some rough places. It is not all smooth sailing, no matter how good your life is or how many blessings you have.
Death Valley has some of the roughest roads around. In 2006 we drove our rented RV up the Mosaic Canyon Road of Death Valley. It is very “washboard-y” so most people would drive it very slowly. Tom, the engineer, was convinced that if he just got up to the resonant speed, the road would be smooth and it would be better for all of us. He gradually picked up speed and somewhere about 25 mph the cupboard doors in the RV opened and pantry items, dishes, cereal, cans, and pasta fell out and rained on the heads of those of us sitting in the back. The RV was stressed so badly that we had to screw on the sides again after the journey – the walls were literally shaken apart. Tom never found the resonant speed that meant smooth sailing up that road.
Passages from Isaiah are often read around Christmas time. Isaiah is the prophet of Christmas, with his insistence that God is still working in our world and in our lives. Isaiah reminds us that the God who created the world can also take charge of our lives. He can make the rough places smooth. He knows our names and travels with us along the rough and smooth journeys of our lives.
Sometimes finding the smooth place or the right speed to travel on the road of our lives is difficult. There are plenty of rough places and we don’t know how to travel through them without serious damage. But God knows and God guides. He goes before us and smooths out the rough places. God doesn’t take away the rough places, but with his help, we can safely navigate them.