“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Those precious words from Isaiah 40 opened the message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss last night at the Chicago stop of the Revive Tour 2013.
With the tragedies at the Boston Marathon fresh on our minds, those words reminded us that God cares about this world and the aches in it. God speaks tenderly to His people . . . we who have scorned Him, disrespected Him, ignored Him. God’s grace is greater still.
Nancy reminded us that God’s love is fixed, nailed to a cross of wood, where Jesus paid the price in full for all our wayward sinfulness. And now, God’s love is poured out to comfort our weary souls and set us free to love Him fully.
This is the gospel. How I needed a fresh hearing of it! My heart has been heavy as of late. I needed to hear God’s redemption story and let it infuse me with hope as I await the final chapter, when all the wrongs of this world will be set right, the day when I get to see my Savior, when faith becomes sight.
Until then, I want to heed the rest of Nancy’s message, taken from Isaiah 40:3–5:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
Here are a few riches gleaned from Nancy’s message:
When we are in the wild, unknown, scary places . . . when we are in the dry, parched, scorched places—this is when we are to prepare a way for the Lord to come near.
Every low, shallow place in me, in my life, needs filled for God to draw near. These are places of guilt, shame, complacency, discouragement, doubt, weariness, low views of God, and more.
Every high barrier in me, in my life, needs to be brought down for God to draw near. These are roadblocks of habits and addictions, mountains of unforgiveness and pride and self-centeredness.
All uneven ground in me, in my life, needs to be made level for God to draw near. These are crooked places of self-defeating thought-patterns, pockets of hypocrisy and dishonesty, and mixed up priorities.
All rough, rugged places in me, in my life, need to be smoothed into plains for God to draw near. These are things that trip me up in daily life, like a lack of love, treating others with contempt, giving in to distractions, and roots of bitterness.
Powerful, isn’t it? And easy to see why Jesus often feels so far away, when we have all manner of blockages and potholes and crookedness and roughness that block the way.
This is why a voice is calling for us to make a way in the desert for the Lord’s coming. He promises to come, to not leave us as orphans. Will we prepare the way for Him?
Let’s pray today, that the Revive Tour will set hearts ablaze to prepare the way for Jesus. Oh how we need Him to draw near!
Are you desperate to have Jesus fill your low places and tear down every high barrier? Are you willing to have your crooked places aligned to the truth and your rugged places smoothed by God’s refining fire?
Will you prepare the way for King Jesus?