“A voice cries out ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’”
During the 33 years I lived in Texas, I felt like a lone crier in the wilderness often during election season. At times, literal loss of voice befell me as I spoke up loudly for issues and the rights of our society’s marginalized—which often included myself. The church of my youth may as well have left me for dead. Thankfully, I no longer feel alone.
As a boy, I was taught to stick up for other kids being mistreated or bullied. What a wonderful and necessary practice! The only problem was that I was being mistreated. I was different and I knew it; unfortunately, the other little boys who bullied me knew it, too. Worst was the shame I felt when confiding in my parents the powerlessness to fight back. Peace is tough stuff, and in my experience, especially so for those who are different. The Others. The Less-Than. Thankfully, I was blest with words far larger than fists, and eventually, I grew courageous enough to use them.
Every day I’m still grateful that I found safe places to belong: music, the library, our vegetable garden. A life today without any of those three is simply unimaginable. Without drama, I can truthfully say they saved my life, and many times at that. After years of learning with several loving spiritual guides and one heaven-sent psychotherapist, I understand that the pain was never about me, but rather the brokenness of my attackers. Thankfully, the source of despair became a source of love and hope.
We’re not told everything will ever be perfect—or even comfortable. But scripture reminds us that there is a way through that comes from God. Our faithfulness to the call of preparation is holy construction work, ceaselessly building roads and bridges to those who need our voice.
Dear God, help us to be brave and vocal as we cry out in the wilderness for your way of truth and peace. Amen.