14It shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15For thus says the high and lofty one
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16For I will not continually accuse,
nor will I always be angry;
for then the spirits would grow faint before me,
even the souls that I have made.
I admit it, I like to drive. When we are on vacation, I can just sit behind the wheel driving for hours, and there’s nothing like driving over a nice new smooth road. As many of us well know, this past summer there was road construction all around St. Paul’s. It was pretty annoying. I couldn’t just cruise up and down 27th street. I had to find all sorts of alternate routes. Some days I even rode my bike (which was a great gift). But now, the cones and barrels are all gone; the big trucks and other road repair machines are gone. There’s nothing but a nicely widened smooth street.
I’d like to think that God promises us a smooth ride. But that’s just not the case. Obstructions, potholes, dead ends abound. Sometimes they mysteriously show up, sometimes we’re given at least a sign—a warning. Often these barriers and hindrances are of our own making.
While some blame everything on God, to me it seems like God is actually giving us an alternate route in life. Instead of getting stuck in complaints and negativity, we can think about the pains and struggles in life as a form of road construction. Sometimes we need to take a detour. Smooth spots are the product of work, often hard work. We may not enjoy ourselves in the midst of these rough places, but God is right there with us. With God’s help we can slow down, we can look more closely at ourselves and those around us.
So, next time you see those flashing lights, orange barrels and construction workers. Say a prayer of thanksgiving and for safety for those hardworking and sometimes maligned men and women. Then take a moment or two to look at your life, honor the bumps and potholes, give thanks for the smooth spots, look for God’s grace at work in your day.
Faith in Action. This may not be terribly practical but it can be quite thoughtful. Look around and see that person who is working, toiling, often thanklessly. Write that person a thank you note and give it to him or her. You don’t need to sign you name; you could just write “Your friend in Christ” or “In Christian love”.
Prayer: God of rough places and smooth spaces, we give thanks for this life. Help us to take every opportunity to be more loving to ourselves, others, and you. Amen.