God’s Thoughts to me
Listen! It is the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3, NLT).
The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for Him!” (Matthew 3:3, NLT).
DANGER! Roadworks Ahead
I have often allowed my heart and mind to ponder on the character of John the Baptist. As far as I was concerned, this guy was totally way-out. Who in their right mind would willingly stay in a desertlike wilderness, wining and dining daily on a monotonous diet of honey and locusts. Yuk! His camel hair attire would ceraintly not have featured on the cover of a fashion magazine; although with a little imagination and the latest fashion trends, he could just have passed for a Hugo Boss model, modeling their latest outdoor range. To be totally honest; this man had the ability to make me feel extremely guilty about my much nicer and comfortable lifestyle.
Yet, of John, our Lord Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet, the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven, is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11, NLT). These words of our Lord intrigued me endlessly! If this was our Lord’s estimation of this peculiar man, there certainly had to be much more about him than met the eye. This guy was a character worth investigating and off this bloodhound went!
It is common knowledge that John was the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah 40:3, but to understand the metaphorical language our God used, we need to compare the two. Allow me:
A. After King Hezekiah of Judah showed the envoy of the king of Babylon, King Baladan, all his royal treasuries (this is good thought for another post), the Israelites were exiled to Babylon.
B. Our God was about to lead them out of their captivity from Babylon, like He did when He took them by the hand and delivered them from Egypt into the Promised Land.
C. Isaiah was the herald or forerunner, mobilizing the Israelites to clear the immense, desolate desert separating Judah and Babylon.
A. The Jews were under Roman rule with Ceasar Augustus as the reigning monarch.
B. Our Heavenly Father was about to deliver the whole human race from their exile in the kingdom of darkness, back to our home country, which our first grandparents forfeited in Eden, back into our Pappa’s Heavenly Kingdom of Light.
C. John was our Lord Jesus’ herald or forerunner, calling everyone to repentance and to clear the the immense spiritual desert in their hearts.
This tradition of road clearing, repairing and renovation dated back to the time of the monarchs of the Middle East. Whenever they undertook a journey or expedition into the barren, desertlike terrain of their kingdoms, they would send heralds or forerunners ahead of them to spur the inhabitants of these sparsely populated regions into action to repair the roads, fill up the ruts and smooth out the rough places for their king’s visit.
At the time John started preaching repentance, the Jews again were finding themselves in a dry, dreary, mountainous spiritual condition. I think that this might be why John lived and worked in the desertlike wilderness terrain; to sympathise with the Jews’ sorrowful state. They were also under Roman rule and were longing for the promised Messiah to deliver them from this foreign rule. I think their spiritual predicament under the iron rule of the Scribes and Pharisees were just as, if not more, unbearable than the political one. Our Lord Jesus was not at all impressed with this state of affairs and His words to them were quite unsettling, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matthew 23:13, NIV) and, “They crush people with impossible religous demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Matthew 23:4, NLT).
I was one of those crushed ones; therefore my heart rejoiced at hearing those words. The hearts and minds of those poor, deceived people (and mine) must have been overgrown with brambles, thorns and thistles representing all the religious rules and regulations. Their religous diet consisted of the same-old, same-old. Yet, they were looking forward to a savior for their unbearable, difficult physical situation. Could it be that they were totally ignorant of just the possibility of redemption from their spiritual captivity? Were they suffering from the religious business-as-usual syndrome, and therefore preferred the familiar, known streets of the Kingdom of Darkness, instead of a new adventure into the Kingdom of Light, grace, freedom, love, joy and peace? If they were just slightly like me, that could well be!
When our Pappa took me by the hand and led, or to be honest, dragged me, into the mountainous, desertlike wilderness of Fm/CFS, I was totally unprepared for the journey ahead. The mountain of excrutiating pain and debilitating exhaustion seemed like the twin brother of Mount Everest, and just as cold, dark and desolate! The fibrofog caused my mind to get lost in a thick cloud of pollution, despair and despondency. I could hear our Pappa’s gentle voice encouraging me to clear this polluted, desert road in my heart.
One of the biggest boulders He showed me that blocked the way forward and needed to be removed, was the idol I had been paying homage to for such a long a time: the idol of perfect health. I realized that I was no different from the Jews in John’s days! Our Pappa showed me that even if I were to be in perfect health, I would still be imprisoned by my addiction to religion, the world, Satan and self. I was chained to the fetters of all my religious self-effort and ceaseless, futile attempts to impress my Pappa and to make Him take notice of me. He made me aware of the futility of putting my trust in these useless, worldly things and ways.
Patiently, our Lord assisted me in clearing the road of my heart of all the rubble I had accumulated over the years. I gave Him permission to fill all the potholes with His life, His righteousness and purity. I had to destroy all the thorns and thistles of wrong desires and dreams (even those I thought would bring so much glory to our God, were they realized). I had to straighten the spiritual road of my heart and willingly allow the humble and gentle King of the Universe, His Royal Highness, King Jesus, to accompany me on this road of life.
I know, dear ones, that just being human, cause all of us to have our own desert roads, with our own loads of rubble to clear and ruts to fill, to straighten the way for our Lord Jesus to enter our hearts, but I pray that our Pappa God will enable us all to see this illness as a gift to enable us to dig up the fallow ground of our hearts and, with thankfulness, to transform the wasteland of our souls into highways fit for our King to travel on; full of blooming, colorful flowers, green foliage and beauty to bring pleasure to our Lord as we travel together on this road of life into His abundant, eternal Life.
Thanks for your patience, and if my thoughts don’t seem logical, please blame the fibrofog!
Hugs and blessings