God Makes a Way

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and shouting. Isaiah 35:1-2

I’ve never experienced a desert suddenly alive with blossoms, after a rare and unexpected rain. I image there is both joy and wonder in the abundance of colors, as one scans the horizon. Even the smallest of God’s creatures have reason to rejoice in finding much needed water.

I’ve never experienced that joy, but I have served rural churches in the midst of a drought. I remember relief and joy on the faces of our farm families, when rain finally came. It was a time to celebrate and give thanks for crops being saved, of being reassured the years harvest was secure.

Isaiah promised a time of reversal. The desert blooms, and everything needed for a traveler will be abundantly present. He writes of homecoming, when those in exile will set out on a much anticipated journey back to Jerusalem. Yet, trepidation remains, in obstacles which will need to be faced. Isaiah assures the people, God will create a way for them. A “Holy Way,” a path to walk on that is not yet visible.

When our lives collapse and the place we thought secure, collapses with it, we flounder. We feel adrift, rudderless and abandoned. We grieve what is lost and question if we have a future. Much like the ancient Israelites, we search for direction, hope, and strength to navigate our way in the wilderness.

During a difficult period in my life, a friend prayed for God to make a way for me.  Isaiah reminds us that God is the one who makes “a way” when there is no way, then names it a “Holy Way, ” leading us to places of health, healing and joy.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf shall be opened;
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;

A highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Holy Way.
. . . it shall be for God’s people;
    no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray Isaiah 35:5-6, 8a