The Rough Made Smooth

“Are you going to go back for prayer with one of the prayer teams?” my husband whispered in my ear.

“I don’t know. Should I?” I asked, a little unsettled by his question.

We took part in a worship and prayer meeting at the church. The music allowed me to sing from my heart, my belly, my soul.

I turned back to face the musicians and big screen with song lyrics. “Lord, if the next song is one I know, I’ll stay and sing. If not, I’ll go for prayer.”

Sure enough. I didn’t know the song.

My husband turned to the side as I made my way to find the prayer teams.

To my surprise, I saw a woman with whom I’d wanted to share something as she was talking to another woman I knew. They welcomed me, and we talked.

Within minutes, I found myself in tears, sharing some new challenges in my healing journey as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Before I could even wipe my eyes, these women from my church cuddled me. Foreheads touching, arms around one another, and voices whispering but boldly calling upon the name of the Lord on my behalf.

I wept, trembled, and released heaps of sorrow before the feet of Jesus.

The Lord had provided my own personal prayer team, on the spot, in His timely fashion. Yes, it was another fingerprint. Again, I rejoiced in knowing that He continues to touch my life in His fashion, with His timing.

Later in the week I picked up my workbook for a book study I am co-facilitating at my church. One of the verses caused me to hold my breath, needing to reread it several times.

“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name (Is. 45:2-3).

Initially I thought, “Whoa. What does this have to do with my healing journey?”

I will go before you…

My God doesn’t just watch me on my healing journey. No, He’s actively leading the way.

mak[ing] the rough places smooth…

Oh, how I know the rough places, the mountainous terrain. It’s so exhausting. Yet, my Lord and Savior levels them to make of my steps easier.

I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.

What strength! Shattering bronze doors! Cutting through iron bars!

How I liken these images to facing, overcoming, and experiencing healing from foul, monstrous, and depraved memories.

How I liken these images to the coping mechanisms I’ve developed, to my walls of defense, to my reluctance to fully trust in His goodness.

Standing in the lobby of my church with those two women, wrapped by the presence of the Holy Spirit, He had gone before me.

He made a rough path smooth.

As I shook in prayer, releasing my burden with my sisters in Christ, I felt the beginning of the shatter and of the cut of iron.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places…

Even in the midst of the darkness–in the secret places–tucked away and stored for safe keeping, the Lord knows of and gives away treasures and hidden wealth.

What I imagine these treasures and wealth to mean is that there is “full assurance and true knowledge of God’s mystery, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2b-3).

The next verse in the Isaiah passage reveals God’s rationale for His forceful and efficient trailblazing, for His dynamic destruction of heavy-duty metals.

So that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel…

Knowing Him, recognizing Him, attributing the work He does on our behalf brings Him glory.

He will be glorified, praised, lifted up above all others.

As a survivor sometimes it’s difficult to see clearly how God is praiseworthy when such horror has occurred to us. I never want to minimize the pain and heartache our abuse has caused.

Never does our God desire to be nonchalant about any sin committed against His children. Instead He individually beckons us to Himself.

who calls you by your name

Before we were born, before we were abused, before we ever recognized our Lord, He called us by name, signaling that we draw near. He called me by name. He called you by name.

Such tenderness, intimacy, and affection, softens my heart toward Him. Yes, I face new challenges in my healing journey. Yes, they often feel like I cannot bear them another moment.

But, yes! He is going before me, clearing my way, destroying the strongholds in my life. Yes, He will furnish me with assurance and knowledge and wisdom that are hidden in Christ.

Such protection and favor, again, causes me to tremble, produces hope within me, and fosters trust as I feel Him hide me in the shelter of His wings.

Daily I commit to take one more step toward Him and healing with full assurance He has gone before me, making my path smooth.

What’s your next step?

In what ways have you experienced God going before you, making the rough smooth? What would you describe as your bronze doors or bars of iron in your life? If you’ve never experienced God’s trailblazing benefits, beg Him to reveal them to you. He’s been doing the work already.

He’s called you by name and desires to be known. He will answer you.

Join me on the healing journey.

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