“God says, ‘Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity‘”—Isaiah 57:14
If you’re driving on a single lane road and encounter a fallen tree or powerline, what should you do? You could drive around the mess or do a U-turn, but someone must eventually clear away the clutter to make the road usable.
When Israel had been exiled, God told the prophet Isaiah, “I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway!! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn” (Isaiah 57:18). God called Isaiah to be a prophet when he was overwhelmed with his struggles. But he turned to God anyway and was delivered from his failures.
Likewise, your shortcomings clutter your road out of the past. Life Recovery Step 7 says: “We humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.” This step forms a bridge between the first six steps—which emphasizes inner work, and the final steps, which highlight outer work—changes in behavior. Will God come into the mess and lead you out? Yes! But if you want to move forward as Isaiah did, there are three steps you’ll need to take.
First, go to God. It’s hard to admit you struggle because the truth hurts. You may try to protect yourself from it. Or you may be afraid of going to God because you think He won’t forgive you. So, you try to hide and cover up your sins; instead, seek Him. After all, He is your Heavenly Father. When you do, God is ready to not only remove your shortcomings, but He’s prepared to clean up your life.
Second, be real. Being honest with yourself, God, and others is essential for your growth. What prevents you from honesty? Denial. Because if you don’t think you have a problem, it prevents God from working in your life. Honesty begins when you:
- Acknowledge you have a problem.
- Agree with God that what you’re doing is wrong.
- Admit your struggles to at least one safe person.
Third, don’t turn back. Isaiah never turned to go back to his past sins. Was he perfect? No, none of us are. He admitted his wrongdoings—God removed them. We read in Isaiah 44:22, “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”
Once you turn to God, you can never repay God for taking away your shortcomings. But you can take steps to make sure you walk in freedom and never go back to the unhealthy life you used to live. Going to a Life Recovery Group weekly will help you, along with having a sponsor to talk with regularly on the days you aren’t in recovery meetings.
When you find yourself unable to move forward in life, remember God is your ultimate help in clearing the way to a better future. He looks forward to removing your shortcomings, so you can better avoid being tripped up.
When you go to Him with humility, admitting that you still struggle with many of your flaws, He refreshes you and gives you the courage you need to continue on the path of recovery. He isn’t put off by the foolish things you do. Your Loving Father sees what you do but chooses to heal you anyway. He’ll keep leading you toward recovery, one step at a time.