Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight…
We have invented a terror for ourselves. We need not be the least afraid. These visions of the future deceive us by suggesting a finality at which man will have arrived. These Utopias are just what will not be true. That is just what we are quite certain will never occur while this present age endures. The one thing that we know of the future is that it will not be like that, for we know that at each moment of his earthly career, until his Lord Jesus comes again to make earth and heaven anew, man will be found warring as a soldier — a pilgrim pressing on towards eternity with mountains still towering ahead, dark with unknown destiny, with valleys into which he must plunge, and moaning with perils through which he must dare his way; with tough tasks still set him to achieve; with nerves, therefore, still strung and prophet voices calling and eyes strained forward into the night, and loins girt, and heart on fire, and foes to fight, and deaths to die, and victories to win. But you will say, "Is that a very encouraging message? Why waste our efforts, then, in struggling to set things right if the crooked will never be straight, if the high road will never be levelled? Why grind at smoothing down our present hills if always there will be fresh mountains beyond?" Just because man is, in essence, a pilgrim, a soldier, a servant of Jesus crucified, and it is his very life to bring this to the front. He discovers himself in and through this struggle and pilgrimage, through the strain of the war. That is his mission in which he proves his courage and his nerve. Unless he is always correcting evil, unless he is always battling down wrongs, he is not himself, and he knows not of what spirit he is made. What the particular wrong may be which he is called upon to redress at this moment, or at that, is determined for him by the conditions of history, by God Himself, for God is in history-He directs, He allots, He distributes the task to man — there is a design clearly disclosed. One by one, God brings up to men the difficulties, the obstructions that He would have them encounter. Our forefathers had their own fight to fight, and they fought it. They were tested and proved in other ways. One fight at a time! They fought for liberty, they fought for free speech; they could not attend to underlying poverty. Now their part is played, their mountains are brought low, and their crooked things are made straight, and therefore there is time and opportunity for something else. There is another task for us, another test applied. We are not to enjoy what our fathers put straight without doing our own part to bend the crooked into line, to make rough places plain.
(Canon H. Scott-Holland, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: