One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Isaiah 35 where God promises a way through the wilderness. I have certainly needed that promise in different phases of my life. Today, our world needs it as we bump up against intractable issues from wars, internal struggles and a changing climate threatening, the earth as we know it.
For people in Exile in Babylon, the concept they might one day actually return to their homeland must have seemed like a dim promise, even as it must for displaced people in our era. Yet, Isaiah wrote this hope-filled passage of a day, when the people of Israel would return to their homeland.
May these words touch whatever wilderness you are living in today.
“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. Isaiah 35:1-10