Isaiah 40:1, 3-5
Recently when we were in Italy, our tour guide told us that there was one distinguishing fact about Roman roads: They were always straight. Most of us have driven old, crooked, bumpy highways. Early in our marriage, we would frequently drive US 60 over the West Virginia mountains to visit family in Kentucky. Even though most of the drive was beautiful, we came to dread this trip, because usually at least one child would get carsick. Only those who have made this pilgrimage could understand our joy when I-64 and the WV Turnpike were finally completed!
Isaiah writes that the way of the Lord will be level, straight, and smooth. Mountains will be cut down and low places filled in. The text sounds like the blueprint for a new interstate highway system, but there are plenty of rough patches in our spiritual lives as well. Low places abound where there is hunger, oppression, and fear. There is crookedness and dishonesty all around us. The high and the mighty seem to be at the throats of the poor and defenseless. The world cries out in loneliness and despair. Will God hear the cries of His children?
There are some who believe that we can do nothing to prepare for God’s coming. He will do it all. But Isaiah says that the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and we are called to prepare the way for Him. We all have a role to play, because we are His hands, we are His feet, and we are the ones who hear the cries of His people. He is calling us to do our part.
Preparing the way of the Lord does not happen without personal risk. Jesus says following Him involves taking up one’s cross daily. The road ahead may not always be clear and straight, but we have the assurance that He is there, guiding and encouraging us all the way.
Rob and Bettina Sandford