Every valley shall be raised up,
Every mountain and hill made love;
The rough ground shall become level
The rugged places a plain.”
I live on top of a swamp. My concrete home gives me some degree of security against the impending 200 inches of rain that will fall during this year’s monsoon season, and the resulting floods. But the majority of the homes around mine are permanently situated in water. Even now, in dry season, these bamboo huts rest just a few inches above the trash-filled swamp. Hand-washed laundry drips back to the water below, and children play next to the edges of their waterfront porches.
Meanwhile, many of the highest, cleanest, and most beautiful sites in this city are designated for pagodas and temple worship; buildings encrusted in gold gilding, to which many of the people give much of their meager income. These high places house not only a host of obligations and fears for local people, but they also represent a mafia-like power structure in this land.
These disparities will not always be, we’re told in Isaiah 40:4. It seems unimaginable, but we are promised a time when the injustice of inordinate power and the control of deceit will have no more sway. Our God intends to make his blessings flow to every reach of high place and dank swamp. We wait in hope for the great leveler—not death—but He who is the light and life of all the world. And if we listen closely, we’ll begin to hear it: there are whispers all about that this great leveling has already begun.