MAKE ROUGH PLACES SMOOTH
This is a picture of Dead River Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, pictures rarely do nature justice, but I wish you could hear them!
As I sat by the falls, I found myself in awe of God’s handiwork and drawn to the beauty of the rocks. The roar of the falls and the colors of Michigan in the fall were amazing but it was the rocks that sparked a thought. The rocks are smooth from the water flowing over them for years and years. The rough edges are rounded, looking almost soft as their wet surfaces shine in the sun. Something so hard and unmoving has changed slowly over time because the water has continued to flow.
Hang with me here but here’s the thought – if God is the continuous flow of water (love, forgiveness, grace) and I am a rock full of hard edges then change is possible. No matter how rough the edge, God can smooth it over time. The quick words, the insecurities, the pride, and the fears are all in a smoothing process because of God’s continuous flow.
In Isaiah 42:16 God says, 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.
I’m not a scientist by any stretch, but I know that it’s the sediment in the water that wears away the rock and makes it smooth. (forgive this oversimplification) The friction, over time, makes the changes. Friction isn’t comfortable. And if we’re honest, most of us want the smooth edges without the friction that is necessary to create them. When I look back at my life, I can see that any smoother edges I have are due to a time of friction.
There is hope in these promises found in Isaiah. God says, I will lead, I will guide, I will turn dark to light, I will not forsake. I will make rough places smooth. These are things I will do. Rough places and hard edges often look like choices. It’s rough to get up early enough to spend time with Jesus. It’s a hard edge that shows itself when we’re pushed or criticized. It’s rough to tithe when money is tight. It’s a hard edge that can make us see others with judgmental eyes. It causes friction because it goes against a habit, a response, logic, or culture. Yet, God promises us that he will lead, guide, and help make rough areas smooth. He does this through the constant flow of grace, love, and forgiveness that pours over us day in and day out.
It’s possible for every rock, every person. As the water flows, God slowly works within us to begin to soften our edges as we discover love, grace, and forgiveness. We can expect some friction but as we round our edges we allow his grace and love to flow more freely toward others.
James says it this way: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2
Let God work, let him smooth the edges. It will take time, the changes might be almost imperceptible, but let the water continue to flow. Getting up does get easier, responding with truth in love comes more naturally, tithing brings blessings, and our eyes become more like His – not overnight but over time.
Are you feeling the friction change brings? Hang in there and let the water flow.