I remember when I first recognized that I was being called to be a priest. I told my priest, went to a couple meetings, set up a few internships, and went off to seminary. The process was slightly more complicated than that, but the road was pretty clear. Every step along the way was just more affirmation that I was on the right track. I grew accustomed to that and sort of expected that to be the way things went for the rest of my life (at least the part of my life where being a priest was concerned). Was I ever wrong.
I have had many obstacles along the way to being ordained. Some obstacles were big, like feeling as though I would never understand what my theology professor was talking about. Others were small, like buying the wrong size collar (this led to a mini panic attack because I don't like things tight around my neck). Whether big or small, my path was not nearly as smooth as I wanted it to be. This passage from Isaiah, however, helps me get a better perspective.
For they are a rebellious people,
children who will not hear
the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, ‘Do not see’;
and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.’
The simple truth is that asking for a smoother path is like asking for a prophet to prophesy illusions. There was never a promise that the way would be easy. God often calls us to difficult tasks. If we truly want to hear God's voice and follow God's direction, we have to be willing to take the path filled with obstacles. The good news is that God will be with us to help us overcome even the most treacherous obstacles along the way.