At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4Isaiah had spoken of 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!
5The valleys will be filled,
and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
and the rough places made smooth.
Where was John when he received the message from God? Where did people go to listen to John? Where were they when the were baptized to show they had repented of their sins?
The wilderness is where it all happened.
Most of us hate the wilderness of life. It is that place where we get lost easily. It is where we can’t see down the road very far. There seem to be dangers at every turn and perhaps there are no turns because there are no paths, or at least we’re not on one. We can’t “see the forest because of the trees”. We easily lose sight of our friends, and our foes. And, to top all that off, our forest of life is in a war zone between good and evil…God and Satan.
But the wilderness is where it all happens, and when it happens it all changes.
John is in the wilderness when he receives his message from God. If we expect to receive our “message from God” when we have our act together and all is well and we are good people, we are going to miss it. If we are feverishly trying to exit the wilderness to find God, we are likely leaving him behind. No, it appears not only are we called to listen for God from within our wilderness, we are called to go to the wilderness to seek him.
And what happens when John receives his message? (Note that he receives it. It isn’t forced on him and he doesn’t take it. He waits till God gives it and then he accepts it like we accept a gift.) John suddenly has a purpose or a mission in his life. He finds a path and the brings others to that path and together they level the path and move the rocks to make the path smooth.
Does your life have a purpose and a mission? Are you lost among the trees alone in a dangerous forest? If so stop running about and and ask someone you trust to help you find you “parents”. Isn’t that what we tell children to do when they are lost? Ask Jesus to come to you in the midst of your wilderness and he will set you on a path and give you a purpose and a mission and you can become a dirt mover like John.
Lord, give me the courage to stop my frantic running in the war zone wilderness of my life and simply ask you to find me. Give me the courage to receive whatever your message is, and follow whatever path you place me on, even if I can’t see where that path goes…even if I can’t see around the next bend in that path.
Ok – you asked for it! 🙂