“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:1-10
We long, we pine, we wait. We cry out, How long? When? Ever? We ache for loved ones who yearn and ask the same. But the promises of God are certain ‘shalls’ that bestow hope and rejoicing today, even when we do not know about tomorrow. The pronouncement of gladness, and glory, and the majesty of the Lord, lifts the heart even now in the wilderness of circumstance, disease, brokenness, and fear. Do we glimpse the color it drops, and feel the cool water it offers?
If sorrow and sighing shall flee one day, let’s tell them ‘Be gone!’ today! When we put our trust in the One who holds the present and the future, we can reckon gladness in our dry land now, and blossoming in our desert, and bring this cheer to others. A heart that grasps the immensity of God’s gracious promises is one that has the capacity for compassion toward those who have not heard.
What labor, what burdens, weaken the hands? Where have wrong paths made feeble the knees? What sister or brother needs someone alongside to guide and support? Do we answer the anxious heart with hand-wringing, fretting, and pessimism, or with prayer, thanksgiving, and promises? How can we meet blindness with holy vision, and speak truth to the deaf? How can we help usher in rejoicing and renewal? Whose hand can we grasp and lead to Zion? (Philippians 4:5-6)
Lord, break through spiritual lethargy and apathy to bring blossoming delight in You and concern for others. Keep me on the Way of holiness that I may share Your gladness all my days.