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Roadworks at Cathill Roundabout along the A635/ A6195 started in February 2020 and are scheduled to last ten months at least. These road improvements were designed to increase the size of this roundabout (along with the Broomhill Roundabout and Wath Road Roundabout) as part of the Dearne Valley Economic Growth Corridor schemes, aiming to reduce existing traffic congestion along these roads and to ensure the road network has the capacity to accommodate any future traffic growth that could arise from the development of BMBC’s local plan allocated employment site ES10 situated off the A635 at Goldthorpe.

Each day as we travel along this route, we see diggers and workmen industriously widening the roads and roundabout. It’s clearly a huge project, made all the more difficult by the need to keep the roads open as much as possible while work is ongoing.

Isaiah 40:4 takes the imagery of major road construction, saying, ‘every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground will become level, the rugged places a plain.’

Ellicott says, ‘the figure of speech is drawn from the titanic engineering operations of the kingly road-makers of the east, where impassable valleys were to be filled up so as to make a level road on which a king and his armies could travel.’ All obstructions were to be removed so that the monarch at the head of an army could proceed.

This passage comes in the context of Isaiah’s prophecy of a messenger sent to ‘prepare the way for the Lord’ (Is 40:3), which the New Testament interprets as applying to John the Baptist’s ministry (Matt 3:1-12). Figuratively, we see something of the revolutionary, paradoxical and topsy-turvy nature of God’s kingdom in the idea that valleys shall be raised up and mountains and hill made low. In this kingdom, the meek are exalted and the proud are brought low (Matt 23:12); wrong ways are set right and rough natures smoothed. God does not work in predictable or expected ways, for His foolishness is wiser than our wisdom and His weakness stronger than our strength. (1 Cor 1:18-25)

Of this verse, Matthew Henry wrote, ‘may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of His word and the convictions of His Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hindrance removed, that we may be ready for His will on earth and prepared for His heavenly kingdom.’ As we continue to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10), let’s be prepared for the construction work needed in our hearts and in our nation so that the way is prepared and ready for our God to move in revival.