In chapter 40 of his book, Isaiah translates the business of making room for the King into hands-on road construction (Isaiah 40:3-5):
“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
‘Clear the way through the wilderness
For the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
For our God!
Fill in the valleys,
And level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
And smooth out the rough places.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
And all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken!’”
Is it possible to work in road construction without getting our hands dirty? – I don’t believe that’s possible, unless of course we stay out of it, which means we are either at the sidelines watching or leaving the scene entirely because we don’t want any part of it. The message in Isaiah, however, is clear. God wants us to get involved.
A young couple in desperate need of a place to spend the night was turned down everywhere until a local from Bethlehem came to their rescue. Since the name of this person is undisclosed, I am asking you to fill in your name today. Picture yourself in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. The streets of Bethlehem are crowded with visitors; and here they are: travelers in dirty clothes with their sole mode of transportation: a donkey. Apparently, his pregnant wife is going into labor; the poor man looks shell-shocked. He is asking you for a place to stay; assessing the situation, you rack your brain to find a way how to help these people. You are determined to find a midwife. Then it dawns on you and you say: “Oh! I know a place for you. It’s just a barn, but it’s dry and at least you have a roof over your head. Come with me!”
It is in extraordinary situations that the best or the worst will be brought out in us. There are people who shut their doors, and there are people who make room. God is appealing to you and me to make room. Let’s get our hands dirty! Life is messy, so are circumstances. Life is not a predictable story. We are in the middle of this mess, and we are asked to engage; we are asked not to look away; we are asked to make unconventional decisions, if necessary, in the name of empathy and love.
Making room for the unforeseen, we make room for the King.