The Holy Way

One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Isaiah 35 where God promises a way through the wilderness. It is one of the traditional passages read during Advent.

“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. . . .

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

I like that the New Revised Version of the Bible (NRSV) reads that even fools shall not go astray. I think of the foolish things I have said or done in my lifetime. I’m grateful that God has considered even the foolish in preparation for the Highway of the Lord. In ancient Israel the words came as a promise of comfort that exiled people would one day find their way back to the homeland. Today, the promise is one of finding our way through our personal wildernesses, Knowing that God is walking with us on our journey. I find comfort and strength in this promise, aware there will be more times when I get bogged down, go off in foolish directions and find myself straying from Holy Way.

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