This time of year, prepare is a word we hear often. This scripture in Isaiah is commonly quoted during advent, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.”
‘In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord.’ Notice the wilderness is where it starts. Wilderness moments are the ones we usually want to avoid. A dry place. A barren place. A place where nothing is happening, that feels alone…like abandonment. This place, the wilderness, is where the preparation begins.
The desert is where all the ups and downs of life are ironed out. It requires digging deep. Rearranging things. Aren’t you tired of pushing boulders uphill? Aren’t you exhausted trying to dig yourself out of a pit? It is the wilderness times of life where the road is made smooth. God himself enters the space and prepares your heart. Your only role is to cooperate. The landscape design is his. Preparing the way, means allowing him to do the deep work.
Then, the glory of the Lord will be revealed…in your life. And all the people will see it. It will be obvious not only to others, but also to you. The glory of God will be evident. The highway for God starts, one heart at a time, until we all have prepared the way!
Will you allow me to prepare the way? Will you let me smooth the rough places in your heart? I can make them smooth. What better time of the year to begin this work of preparation? The holidays can be a place of wilderness for so many. You know the feeling of busyness for busyness’s sake. The loneliness in the crowd. All the celebration, yet feeling somewhat removed. Instead of a façade of festivity that covers your pain, use this time. Instead of wrestling with the wilderness, let me use it. Prepare the way for my glory to shine through you.