Some two-and-a-half millennia ago, Isaiah is given an insight into the process by which God’s glory is made manifest in human lives – a coming that not only dignifies our human nature but also enables us to share together in the experience:
‘A voice cries out: “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. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”’ (Isaiah 40:3-5)
As is so often the case with insight, the exterior world is recognised as holding up a mirror to the interior landscape; the nature of eroded earth mirroring that of the human, or, earthling.
Isaiah’s insight is that it is precisely in those places where we are at our lowest points, it is precisely in those places where life towers over us, where the Spirit of God rests upon us, at work both to prepare us to receive the Lord who comes and to equip us to recognise and proclaim that impending arrival.
It is in the places where we acknowledge our weakness, our humanness, that we are at last able to encounter ourselves – perhaps for the first time in a long time – and our neighbour, and the God in whose likeness we are both made.
If I truly believed this, what difference would it make to how I live?