Friday, December 12, 2008

Prepare the Way for the Lord

Here is the second advent devotional I was asked to write this season:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way - Luke 3:1-6 (New International Version) In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'

John the Baptist was called from his desert dwelling place to “prepare the way for the Lord.” What a tremendous responsibility fell upon this man; yet we are called to do the same. In the midst of our desert, we are called to prepare for God to use our pain for His glory. This is a conscious choice we make. John was called from the desert, but it was only by making the choice to heed the call and begin his ministry that John made an impact on the world. Through John’s obedience, the world was prepared to accept the Messiah.

When my spouse of 24 years died suddenly, leaving me widowed at 43 years old with two sons to rear; I entered the desert of my life. My identity changed in the blink of an eye. I was no longer married, no longer someone’s spouse and the secure identity I possessed for 24 years, was no longer mine to claim. A new identity defined me. I was a single parent; a widow and found these identities awkward and uncomfortable. Wandering the “crooked roads” and “rough ways”, I questioned whether life would ever be straight or smooth again.

In the midst of my hurt and disappointment, God began to call me out of the desert; urging me to prepare the way for Him to work through my life. I couldn’t change my life history. I couldn’t change my circumstances, but with God’s help I could change how the story continued. Making this choice freed my life to have new meaning. Pain no longer defined me, temporal titles no longer mattered; the mountains became low, the crooked roads I had been traveling grew to be much straighter and the rough ways became smooth.

It is while we wander in the desert of life that God often calls us. He calls us to prepare the way for His Son to work through our pain and be glorified in our surrender. Through our obedience in the desert place, God can use our circumstances not only bring healing to our soul, but to lead others to Jesus and his love for us. Just as John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for the Messiah to come and dwell among us, so we are also called.

3 comments:

anniegirl1138 said...

Well said.

Shelly said...

Thanks for sharing this. It spoke to me. You have a gift.

my3angels said...

Marsha,

Awesome. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational message.