Coming across the Rocky Mountains last week, along what I believe to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country, a glance in the rear-view mirror captured my attention. After winding down the east side of Roger’s Pass, the highway straightened out for a long stretch and seemingly reached out for some infinite point in the distant mountain range. The beckoning springtime grass, scattered clouds and silent highway combined to make a compelling scene. This sight brought to mind a number of thoughts and Scriptural messages, but one in particular felt like just the right fit.
“Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God!” Isaiah (40:3) spoke these prophetic words about John the Baptist’s future role. Later, each of the Gospel writers would document John doing precisely this, with John 1:23 recording, “He [John the Baptist] said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.”
So John basically made this proclamation to anyone who would listen to him, and maybe even to some who wouldn’t. But what was he telling them? God can do anything He wills, surely he doesn’t need people to pave the way for Him! John’s purpose in this announcement was to put people at the ready for Jesus Christ, who would soon be in their midst. This was not only so folks would be on the lookout for Him, but was an urging for people to get their lives right by God prior to the impending arrival of the King.
Just as the arrival of Jesus Christ in the flesh was imminent in the time of John the Baptist’s life, the Kingdom of Heaven will soon be at hand when Christ returns in judgement. We don’t know when that will happen (Matthew 25:13), but if our lives are not right with God at that moment, we will not join the fellowship in His kingdom. Worse, we will be ushered to the gates of Hades. So, what if you don’t believe that Christ’s return is going to happen soon? Well, perhaps you’re right, but then I’d ask, when will you die? Again, if you don’t have your life right with God when you leave this life on earth, the same rules apply. And that death can happen in an instant – even when you’re least expecting it.
Listen carefully…..do you hear it? Hailing from the clutter and noise of our modern day wilderness can still be heard that same announcement – Make straight the way of the Lord!
Last weekend I was in northwest Washington-state and my visit coincided with the beginning of the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Over the past several years I have traveled on business to this part of the country, but wasn’t aware that the cut-flower and bulb business had such an economic impact in the Mt. Vernon-Burlington area. And evidently the flowers were not in bloom at the time of previous travels, or I think might have noticed them. My timing was fortuitous this year and I become one of the more than 200,000 people who flock to the locale each year to take in the sights.
The first field of blooms to draw my attention turned out not to be tulips, but daffodils! And I actually believe I saw more acres of daffodils than tulips during my time there, however I didn’t cover the country extensively. Even on a cloudy, dreary day, the brilliant yellow was impossible to miss.
The variety of colors at the tulip farm was pretty amazing, and each row of flowers was like a work of art. Mud and drizzling rain turned out to be a good thing, as many of the tourists stayed out of the fields and headed for their cars early, allowing for some relatively clean shots of the fields.
While the tulip business in Washington doesn’t compete with Holland in terms of acreage or economic impact, it remains a very impressive sight to experience. And the colors and beauty of the flowers serve as poignant reminders of He who made them!