Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Voice

"A voice of one calling in the desert" Matt. 3:3.

"A voice of one calling, 'In the desert prepare the way of the Lord'" Isaiah 40:3.

Long before a popular TV show first aired, there was "the voice."

What a difference  punctuation marks make. Matthew emphasized the messenger, John the Baptist. The quote from Isaiah, on the other hand, focused on a specific location. In that day, in order to hear John's message, one had to physically go to the desert - and come they did. People of every status in life traveled to hear what the voice in the wilderness had to say. Many received John's words and their hearts were prepared for the arrival of Jesus, their Savior.

Isaiah concentrated on the place where the message could be heard; where one goes to prepare a place for the Lord. Only a small fraction of the world's population has ready access to a real desert. In rural Northwest Georgia where I live, sand and dunes are in short supply. If being in a desert is mandatory to prepare for God's arrival, it's worth the time and expense to find one. A substantial portion of people however wouldn't be able to, and would wind up excluded from receiving God's gift to men. There had to be another way.

Deserts are inhospitable environments - scorching hot by day, bone chilling cold at night. To survive you better pack a bag because the desert has precious little to offer. Life is like this also. If you're going to make it all on your own, be prepared to fend for yourself.

Life, just like desert produces mirages. Things aren't as they appear. Most people don't recognize their need for a Savior until they experience the dissonance of life. What is packaged and sold as a prescription for happiness and success turns out to be a nasty illusion. Weighed down with excess baggage the weary soul feels duped and doomed. That doesn't have to be the end of the story.

Isaiah declared that the wasteland was the right place to get ready for God's intersection with our lives. Don't worry about cleaning yourself up first or fixing all your problems - that's another mirage. Come as you are with all that weighs you down, and watch God transform your desert into a garden. Encumbrances removed, He has a clean slate on which He'll transcribe the path for your life's destiny. Any sand in that picture is attached to the shores of the River of Life, not to a wilderness.

How about you? If you feel as if your life is a barren stretch of desolation, what prohibits you from allowing the Master Gardener to redesign your space? If you're a Christian and your existence feels like an endless, empty wilderness, what do you think God would say if you asked Him, "Who do You want to be for me right now?" Don't waste time on the "Why?" questions; they don't get answered and only produce pity parties. The desert wasn't designed to be a place to get stuck in the sand. It's an opportunity to prepare for a fresh encounter with God.

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