"The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth." Luke 3:5b (NIV)
The tripod on the roadside held a neon orange, diamond-shaped sign that displayed the words ROUGH ROAD AHEAD. It was right. Our vehicle jiggled, jolted, bumped and bounced...as did the passengers inside...as we rode through the construction zone. Then we reached the place where brand new pavement began...the transformation of that section complete...aaahh, so smooth.
I couldn't help but think, as we passed that way, how the variations in that asphalt compare to the course of our lives.
You know how you go over that section where the workers have ripped off the former covering of the road and gotten down to the layer that looks all squiggly, with wavy ridges that can make your tires skid a little? Don't you feel that some days you are "living" in that zone? You feel slightly out of control, unable to get firm footing. You waver in the uncomfortableness.
Then there are those big bumps...often complete with their own warning signs...yes, another tripod bearing neon-blazing beacon that simply screams, "BUMP"! You better take note! You've been forewarned. The blow feels like it could surely flatten your tire...and rearrange your vertebrae! That happens in life too...events that knock the wind right out of us...feel as if they could "take us out"!
Next comes that steamy, tar-y stench that surrounds you, with heat that rises and penetrates right into your vehicle. And the gravel that flicks up all over your car's undersides and fenders...leaving traces that will remain until you scrub them off. Ever feel like you've been poured right into the heat of that asphalt producing incinerator?? Or covered with the debris from the fallout of life taking place around you?
You are not alone. We have all been down that avenue. It's not easy. But take heart. There will be smooth roads ahead. And our perseverance is not in vain.
In James 1:12, we read, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." Earlier in that passage, James said, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (v.4) And remember that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
As I said before, you are not alone. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Father God, please help us! We understand that this journey called life is wrought with difficult passages...and cool resting places. We know that You are the God of them both. Lord, we are yielding ourselves to Your refinement, believing that You will also provide times of refreshing and rejuvenation. Help us to persevere. We trust You to make the rough places smooth...to complete the work that You began in us. We love you, Lord!