A highway through a wasteland

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!” —Isaiah 40:3-5 (NLT)

When Isaiah spoke those words, he was prophesying about events that had not yet taken place. He foresaw Israel being plundered and her people hauled away to Babylon. The land of milk and honey would be eaten by locusts on chariots.

But he also foresaw God’s mercy on the people he loves. Be comforted, he says. God will speak to you tenderly. God will forgive you and mark the debt of your sin Paid-in-Full.

Good news! Wonderful news! God has remembered his people!

But there’s just one problem. Jerusalem is a pile of rubble and the temple has been leveled. Nothing can ever be as it once was.

Isaiah sees God building a mighty highway to connect once again with his people. It’s a 16-lane span of seamless concrete stretching as far as the eye can see, and not a toll booth in sight. But it’s a highway through a wasteland, an autobahn that cuts across the empty barrenness of the desert.

I am fighting my way through a trackless desert of grief. My son is gone and all I want is to have him back in my arms again. That isn’t going to happen. I would like to just sit down on this pile of sun-baked stones and weep, but God has built a highway through this ugly desert to the very spot where I’m sitting. He makes himself comfortable beside me, puts his arm around me, and weeps with me.

God meets us in our wilderness. God will find us in the desert. God levels mountains to reach us, and then he waits with us, with me, in my sorrow.

The Lord will meet you in your wilderness. He will find you and comfort you and speak tenderly to you, as only a loving father can.

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  1. Yes. Amen!
    The Lord does meet us in the desert.
    He has met me in the dark.
    In the wild, howling storm.
    He has known what I suffer and has been my shelter.

    Praying for you and your family.

  2. Doug Stevens says

    Beautiful, awe-ful, compelling reflections. For those of us who will not weep … for fear that we will never stop, or out of embarrassment, or wondering what good it would do, or because we worry that our tears would unleash anger and bitterness and ultimately despair. All of which our Father can absorb and transform.

  3. Charlie you are such a good writer. You are right. The Holy One is right beside you holding you, crying with you and there to show you the way. I believe this is true. I don’t know how people go through life without Jesus. You have such a blessing in your sweet wife and daughter too. God gifted them to you. I know you love them so much and I know how much they love you too. You are so loved Charlie and so is your very precious son. God also gifted you this beautiful talent to articulate your heart. Keep writing Charlie. It reaches deep.

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