“In the desert prepare the way for the Lord.” (Isaiah 40:3)
I've been to Cairo. I've visited the pyramids. I've experienced the effects of a sandstorm--sand in every facial orifice, contact lenses rendered useless. I've experienced the heat, the rapidity at which dehydration can happen, the melting of film in a camera. Yet, in the hot sand, where the landscape changes with every strong wind, where resources are non-existent, where the elements are extreme—that’s where God’s people are told to prepare his way. To translate, when my reserves of energy, creativity, love, and grace are as dry as the desert, I am called to prepare the way for the Lord. When I’m in the middle of a tornado of change (personally or professionally), I am called to prepare the way for the Lord. When there’s no budget money, I am called to prepare the way for the Lord.
Preparing is my job, as a Christ follower, not just as a paid pastor.
God does the rest. God shows up. God changes hearts. God changes minds. God changes families. God changes lives. God heals. God calls. God saves. God redeems.
I prepare the way. No matter what.
I prepare the way when I pray, when I smile and welcome someone, when I invite someone to minister with me, when I teach someone how to read and understand the Bible, when I sign-up a student for a mission trip, when I schedule a meeting of student or adult leaders, when I teach my kids how to pray, when I take them to church (even when they don't want to go). All I have to do is prepare the way.
It’s still a lot of work. But recognizing that preparation is all I’m responsible for lightens the load. It also reminds me of my place and keeps me humble.