3 A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our G-d.
4 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.’
I have read and heard this scripture read I don’t know how many times and it is only this morning that I took a hard look at how it is punctuated. This isn’t someone in the wilderness crying out, it really is a voice sending us into the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord, and that changed how I looked at this scripture.
As I read this several times I realized Isaiah isn’t talking about going out into nature but rather to travel inward to the desert of my heart, the valleys of my despair, an over inflated ego, and all of the lumps and bumps I cross on the road of life. It takes faith to create a highway where no road has ever been and what could be lonelier than the empty places in my own heart. Making way for G-d means I must open a door, pull up the weeds that block the entry and let G-d in. It is something I have to choose to do and to complete with the only expectation that G-d will come, belief and faith is all I have to build that road.
What is amazing is what happens when I do finish the way and G-d comes! Wow, the valleys of my despair are lifted up into the light and I learn that my own ego is the real stumbling block to G-d. Letting G-d travel the highway of my heart my ego takes on a reasonable size and the roads I travel become level like a smooth plain.
This isn’t about someone crying in the wilderness, unless the person crying is me. Rather it’s about what I must do in order to get ready to accept the gifts G-d gives me every day. Gifts such as a golden sunrise, or sunset that tingles my heart and takes my breath away. Gifts such as the love I receive from my beloved and friends but often don’t acknowledge. The gift of time: time to pray, time to sit in silence, time to laugh, time to leap with joy, and yes even time to cry, suffer, and have my heartbroken. All of these are gifts are given by G-d and all of them provide me with strength, courage, peace, blessings, and comfort, simply because I know the Holy Presence is nearby. Life will never be easy, but it is bearable when I maintain the highway in the desert of my heart where G-d walks.
©Ruth A. Jewell, December 4, 2011