"Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, “Make a highway for the Lord through the wilderness. Make a straight smooth road through the desert for our God. Fill the valleys and level the hills. Straighten out the curves and smooth out the rough spots…. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed….” Isaiah 40: 3-5a
John the Baptist went around shouting, “Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord’s coming!” He was preparing the way for Christ’s beginning ministry. There were spiritual wildernesses, a crooked religious system scorching people’s souls dry, and a powerful political reign oppressing them. There was no beautiful glory of God shining anywhere. Not until John got the ball rolling. He was appointed and sent for that preparatory work. His tragic beheading grieved the Lord and His followers deeply. Preparing for Christ’s appearances, whether it be for His first or His second coming, demands obedience and courage.
Presently we are living in days when there are shocking evil things going on. There is a spiritual wilderness or wasteland in many people’s souls around the world, even right where I live. When I listen to the international news an urge arises in me of desiring to shout – well, at least to speak up – to my Muslim friends: “Get prepared for the second appearance of Jesus to this earth. He is coming!” God appoints us to prepare the way for His return. I don’t want to concentrate so much on talking about Israel, political world events and differing eschatology views, all of which are valuable and have their place, but rather stress the most urgent need of all: to get reconciled with God.
As I discovered today talking with one Muslim couple, it is amazing how current events like what is happening in Iraq and Syria, can lead easily and naturally into conversations about end times and Jesus’ return and the need to be ready. “Rough spots” are experienced in conversations and “crooked curves” have to be maneuvered around for sure. There are arguments, conspiracy theories, incorrect information like Jesus coming to get married and have children, Mahdi beliefs, and strong dajjal fears. Often there seems to be no clear “highway” to travel on in such conversations, but rather rabbit trails, dead ends or road blocks.
Sometimes I wonder how a smooth highway of end times conversation can take place. There are religious valleys which take people down into disillusionment where they are stuck and then I see high hills full of fantasies and unrealistic utopian ideals which need to be brought down. No one ever said preparing the way for Christ’s appearances would be easy. It is actually tough work and there is plenty of preparation to engage in. Still I find it exciting to be part of God’s plan to prepare my Muslim friends for His next appearance on earth. I try not to get distracted by secondary issues in doing so.
I sense Jesus will return soon. His glory is soon to be fully revealed when all this preparatory work is accomplished. Yeah!