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A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3 ESV

Boom! Boom! Those were familiar sounds around our home in Southern Indiana as Interstate 37 was being constructed. The echoes were from the blasting required to carve through the granite hills. Once that was done, the heavy equipment was brought in–the bright yellow road graders, bulldozers, and road rollers to create a straight and smooth roadway. Once I37 was constructed, it significantly reduced the travel time between Bloomington and Indianapolis.

In today’s verse, Isaiah envisioned a time when John the Baptist would be the voice crying in the wilderness. While Isaiah would never witness the highway construction, he understood its necessity. God used John to announce that construction time was near, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8)

As the chief architect, God would create a highway–a deliverance from humankind’s sinfulness to God through Jesus Christ. 

Every valley shall be lifted up,

and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level,

and the rough places a plain.

5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

and all flesh shall see it together,

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (v. 4-5)

The highway to God is simple because our faith in Jesus Christ is the sole requirement. Gone are the days of burnt sacrifice. We need only believe that God, by his grace, delivers us from sin, and we desire in our deliverance to become more like Jesus by rejecting evil and seeking to do good.

As God called John, he has called us. Many folks are still wandering in the wilderness–unaware of the highway. We are to be the voice and the preparers–telling and showing the peace of deliverance in Jesus Christ to all we meet.

Father God, our lives can often feel like a wilderness of challenges and obstacles. Mountains stand tall before us, valleys seem impossible, and the path forward appears unclear. But amidst the wilderness, we hear your voice, calling us to prepare the way. You guide us to level the rough ground within ourselves, to smooth out the jagged edges of our hearts. You ask us to remove the pride and self-importance that stand in the way of your grace. As we follow your call, we see the mountains begin to crumble, the valleys rise, and the rough ground become smooth. We experience the transformative power of your love, which fills our hearts with peace and joy. We see it in the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers, the unconditional love of family and friends. We see it in the small acts of compassion and the moments of unexpected joy. May we, as your instruments, help to reveal your glory to the world. May our lives be reflections of your love, forgiveness, and grace. May our actions pave the way for others to encounter you and experience your transforming power. We pray for the strength and courage to follow your call to prepare the way for your presence in our lives and the world. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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