By Lisa Huddleston
“A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness;
make a straight highway for our God in the desert” (Isaiah 40:3).
Our church is preparing for a Spiritual Renewal Weekend that begins next Friday. I guess because I tend that way myself, I can already hear the voices of skeptics out there saying, “Isn’t that just another name for a revival?” And, “How can anyone schedule revival? Doesn’t it come when He chooses it will?” And, “I don’t even want to get my hopes up only to feel disappointment again instead of renewal.” Oh yeah—I hear you. And I have to admit that I’ve been feeling some of those same things, but I also must confess to a flickering fire of hope that just won’t die. I long to see His Holy Spirit move among the people I love and to stir up my own timidly burning embers. I literally hunger and thirst for it—just like that panting deer we sing about on Sundays. And so … I hope, pray, and get ready for Him to move in with power.
But how does one get ready for God? Isn’t that the Million Dollar question? I guess the best answer is to discover whatever stands in His way and remove it. Isaiah put it like this: “Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rough places a plain” (Is. 40:4). And Hosea said: “Let us strive to know the Lord … break up your untilled ground. It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain” (Hosea 6:3, 10:12). Both prophets, inspired by the same Holy God, told their people that they had work to do to get ready for His arrival. And I can only assume that we as children of that very same God must also have some work to do to “prepare the way of the Lord” into our little part of this world.
What valleys and potholes lie on the road to Lebanon … and to my heart? After all, all I can truly work on is my part of the road, my heart. What mountains, some mole hills and others Mt. Everests, are in His way? What rocks or stumps hide uncovered in my untilled ground? How do I discover the obstacles that are in the way of His coming, His renewal, His revival in my life?
Only He can do it. Only He can transform my heart and mind. Oh Lord, show me what still lies hard and unbroken in me. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me” (Ps. 139:23-24). And let me see my heart as it really is. Show me my selfishness. Show me my laziness. Reveal my lack of love and my desire to have my own way. Let me see where my anger gets in Your way and instead make me an instrument of Your peace. Expose the untilled, hard, and unprepared ground in me. Give me a sharp blade of Truth, and help me to make it ready with clear eyes and strong arms as Your rain of righteousness falls to wash away my sweat and tears.
It only takes one voice. And one more. And one more. Crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” “And the glory of the Lord will appear and all humanity will see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Is. 40:5). Ready?