Isaiah 42:16 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.
This promise to Israel is a promise from the Lord for us as well. You might have to read the verse several times to have it sink in. The Lord quickened this verse to me several years ago while I was in Brazil visiting my son John and his family. It was a time when I was really struggling with direction and God’s plan for me. I was having difficulty understanding what was going on in my life in terms of job/ministry/direction.
The “details” of my daily life were giving me problems as I grappled with them. At the same time, I did understand that the Lord wanted me to walk in faith. My struggle was between focusing on the Lord and dealing with my circumstances that I didn’t understand – back and forth.
Into this mix one morning, the Lord gave me this verse as a token of kindness. It says that there are times in our walk with the Lord when He leads us in ways we have not known, along unfamiliar paths. Our unfamiliarity translates into darkness, like finding our way on an unfamiliar hiking trail in the dark through treacherous terrain. We usually aren’t aware that He is leading us because we simply find ourselves in difficult unfamiliar circumstances and have to deal with them.
But here is where the faith element comes in. He will turn the darkness into light – our anxiety and distress over where we find ourselves is replaced by the peaceful confidence that comes from Him. Think of being on that hiking trail in the dark in treacherous terrain and having a trusted guide meet you. We still have to traverse the trail but we’re not alone. The presence of this guide and our justified confidence in Him results in the rough places becoming smooth.
Our problem is that we are so inclined to focus on our troubling circumstances. The Lord wants us to understand that life is filled with these situations – but He is always with us. That is reality, not just a theological promise. We might not know where we’re going or the details of how things will work out, but we have our God with us. He provides the light in our darkness. He guides and strengthens us in the journey. He delivers us from fear and uncertainty. That is something to rejoice in no matter what else is going on!