The Straight Highway
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
I want to go home.
If you’ve ever been far from home, felt lost or trapped in the wrong place, you know how the people of Israel felt in exile. They want to go home, back to Jerusalem, back to their way of life. Isaiah has a word from the Lord for these exiles, and it is a construction plan. They are to build a straight highway “for our God.” This isn’t the highway they want to build. They’re more interested in building “a highway for us”—to hightail it out of here.
Isaiah knows that the little Jewish remnant in Babylon is no match for the mighty army of their captors. They can’t build a highway out. But they can build a highway in, a straight path for God to reach them. And with God, nothing is impossible.
The exiles in Babylon have a classic case of the “geographical cure,” the belief that our problems can be solved by moving to a new place. God knows they must somehow be able to find home, even in this strange land. Unless we can find a place within us where we are safe and secure in the love and blessing of God—no matter what else is raging around us—our hankering for “home” will usually be escapist. Regressive. We won’t grow up.
So we build a highway for God to reach us, by clearing a path in our daily lives where we are free and alone and quiet before the Presence. Then, oddly, home finds us.
Prayer: Let us find, say, five quiet minutes this day, Lord, so that we can find our home in you. Amen.
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