When Potholes Fill Your Path
"The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth." Isaiah 26:7 (NIV)
On the night before he began kindergarten, my youngest son, Joshua, announced he'd "rather go to jail" than go to school.
His big brother mumbled something sarcastic about the prison bars in the principal's office, while his sisters attempted to soothe Joshua's anxieties by pointing out the perks of being a kindergartener.
"Did you know that when you lose a tooth at school you get to bring it home in a tiny treasure box?" my daughter Hannah asked.
Joshua grinned and poked his finger in his mouth to check for loose teeth. But when it was time to brush those pearly whites and head to bed, his smile faded and fears returned.
What if my legs get cramped on my carpet square?
What if my ears hurt from listening all day?
What if I forget to raise my hand?
What if I'm the only one who can't read?
To be honest, Joshua's worries resonated with my own. I'd prayed unceasingly over the school year to come and was certain God had placed my son in the kindergarten classroom that would best meet his needs. Yet I just couldn't imagine my littlest boy thriving in any classroom at all. He loved piles of dirt more than stacks of books and preferred hammers over pencils.
Joshua's eyelids drooped and his breathing slowed. Then, before he surrendered to sleep, he voiced one last concern: "I can't go to kindergarten tomorrow, Mommy. I don't have even one wiggly tooth!"
I assured my son that loose teeth weren't a prerequisite for kindergarten, and I headed to the kitchen to pack lunches for morning. Minutes later my husband found me crying over the peanut butter, and I had to confess the angst preying on my mind. "I can't figure out how Joshua's going to make it through the school year."
"You don't have to figure it out," my husband gently replied as he wiped a smudge of peanut butter off my cheek. "That's God's job."
Have you been there before? Perhaps you've sought God's direction, followed His lead, only to find yourself walking a path marked by concerns that cause you to stumble.
Sometimes the potholes in our path make us wonder if we are really on the right road. Unanswered, difficult questions can make us doubt the direction we've been given.
However, today's key verse reminds us it's not our job to fix the chinks in our trail. If we let God lead, He will smooth the way: "The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth" (Isaiah 26:7).
Whatever the path looks like, God has a plan for every step (Jeremiah 29:11). We may be trekking toward a new school year or stepping into an empty nest; stumbling along a painful detour or skipping into a new job; but no matter where we're headed, God is aware of every gap in the road He's established for us.
Joshua's school year wasn't perfect, but God was faithful. And nine months later, as we waited for the big yellow bus to chug up our street on the last day of school, my son admitted he'd changed his mind. With a toothless grin, he conceded. Going to kindergarten was definitely better than going to jail!
The bus slowed to a stop, and Joshua climbed aboard. He pressed his face against the window and waved good-bye. That's when I noticed a splash of white hovering at the top of his gaping grin.
Soon a new tooth would inhabit that endearing hole in his smile. Because that's just how God works, faithfully filling every gap in His own way and in His perfect time.
Lord, I don't have every step figured out, but I'm thankful You do. Fill me with courage when my path is packed with potholes. Give me faith to follow Your lead and awaken me to see You at work as I travel along the road You've prepared for me. Thank You for providing direction and peace in Your perfect timing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is the most daunting "pothole" in your path right now? Today, how could you lean on Christ rather than on your own understanding?
God's word is like a GPS for life travelers. When your path feels confusing or difficult, the truth of Scripture brings peace. Set aside ten minutes this week to read your Bible. Look up these promises in the Psalms: Psalm 16:11, 18:36, 119:9, 119:35, 119:105.
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