Nothing ever goes smoothly, it seems. Or if something does it’s almost a shock. Our culture has a name for it: Murphy’s Law. No point in going into all the ways it shows up in daily living. But it might be worth thinking about it in a spiritual context.
Head for your Bible, and the first thing you’ll notice is that “smooth” is not generally a good thing at all! Some examples:
And of special note:
What do we like better? Easy, or full of difficulties? Silly question, right? How about pleasing or displeasing to the senses? Or how about a notion of God that puts no responsibility on us, versus a one that is demanding? We creatures of flesh know what we like…but is what we like necessarily better?
These passages say (at the very least), “not always”. “Smooth and easy” is what the road to destruction is. So do we pray for things to NOT go smoothly? That doesn’t feel quite right either. And going further into our Bible, we find some passages with a different picture of “smooth”:
Being smooth isn’t always bad! We are inclined to desire no problems, everything smooth, but we’re also aware of the dangers. How then should we think about “smooth” ways? How should we pray? Something like this, I think:
“Thank you Father, for watching over me to protect me, smooth things for me, even the times I don’t realize you are doing it. Thank you also, Father, for the trials and troubles that draw me nearer to you and that force me to grow and develop. Please help me to push away the seductive, too-smooth pleasures, the flattering words, the no-obligation religions.
“Help me to have the courage to choose the more difficult way when it is the right way. I do pray that my way may be as smooth as your wisdom allows, and I pray that you will uphold me through the hard parts that will surely come. Thank you most of all, my loving God, for the vision of the end, when all toil and trouble are done away, when all ways are smoothed at last, in your Kingdom.”