“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.” Isaiah 42:16
Isaiah 42:16 has become a significant verse to me during my support raising. It has helped to keep me grounded. When I don’t know who to call next or even how I could ever get to 100%, it helps to remind me that in the darkness, He still has a plan. He will shed light onto the situation when it is most necessary. Even when the path ahead seems to be so dark, I can trust that He is still working, and He will guide me.
The verse was first introduced to me when I was trying to figure out what my future career and plans should be. I was trying to plan but didn’t have anything to prepare. I would become very frustrated every time I even tried to look into leases or flights. This verse reminded me that although, concerning my future, I felt blind. I could trust that He would lead me. He was with me in my darkness, and He was helping me to navigate every step. After a few months, He did make clear to me what His next steps for me were, that was when I received the offer to join the staff team in South Africa.
Recently, this verse has gained more depth with respect to following Christ amidst a culture that is growing more and more averse to the things of God.
In typical Missouri fashion, some friends and I recently ventured to a swimming spot they had discovered deep inside one of the local state parks. Since this was a pretty secret swim spot, the path there was long and arduous. Although I could easily compare this to the way of the Christian life in general, comparing this beautiful swim spot to the end of our journey and acknowledging the trials that come with aspiring towards such a beautiful and worthy destination. Instead, I want to focus on a particular aspect of my personal experience.
To get to this swimming spot, we mostly had to walk through a small portion of the creek. This creek was riddled with all kinds of rocks, of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Due to my unfortunate luck, the only shoes I had were my high-top American flag converse. As one of my favorite pairs of shoes, I wasn’t going to walk through the water and rocks to potentially ruin them.
So, I went barefoot.
This led to some very achy feet even though I stepped very carefully across the rocks, each one felt like it was digging into my feet. Although this is partially hyperbolic, my feet do ache as I write this.
I took the longest out of the group to get there and even longer on the way back. One of my friends was also barefoot during a portion of this journey, and so I asked him how he managed it. In effect, he responded that his feet were used to walking across these kinds of surfaces and it didn’t hurt as much anymore.
During my prayers this morning I was thinking of this verse and this part of it jumped out to me.
“I will turn the darkness into light before them, and make the rough places smooth.”
My first thought was how much I wished that He could have made my path smoother during my journey to the swimming spot.
In His goodness, He desires to give us a smooth path which doesn’t cause our feet to ache. The way of following Christ isn’t an easy one. There will always be obstacles trying to divert us from the path. But it is truly the best life possible. In submitting to His plan and following His ways, He makes our path perfectly designed for us to follow for our good.
Deuteronomy 29:5 says “Yet the Lord says, ‘During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.’”
During their time in the wilderness, the Israelites complained many times, but they couldn’t complain about their feet because God had protected them and kept them from aching. I bet they didn’t have any rocks digging through their divinely sturdy sandals.
The rest of the world hardens themselves to the pain and the brokenness because they don’t know that there is a better life for them. They build up callouses because to them, there is no other way. They just have to survive it and hope that the end is worth the pain of the journey.
With faith and hope in knowing that this path leads to the best possible destination. I rejoice, because it is a way that is smooth and leads to an eternal relationship with the Creator who cares for every step we take.