January 12 – Joy of the Redeemed

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12 – Joy of the Redeemed

Isaiah 35:1-10

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. (1-2)

In Isaiah 34, the prophet writes of a desolate land where thorns, nettles and thistles reclaim the land, where jackals and wild animals roam and where birds of prey fill the skies.  It is a desolate place.

I’ve spent my share of time in what seemed like a complete wasteland of my life.  It began to seem as if that were the normal way to live, desperate for peace and nourishment …. Anything to bring relief from the agony of daylight.  Then, one day, I realized that the pain was gone and my life had transformed.  Everything within me began to bloom again. I found my voice and it was all I could do to not shout out loud for joy.  I saw the glory of the Lord.

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (3-4)

Some of the pain of my worst days was countered by the love and support of friends.  We can not do this often enough for those we love. Whether with words, gifts, or time, we are called to support those who need help.  Give them a hand, walk with them, listen to their hearts; do whatever they might need in order to help them become strong once again.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. (5-7)

Have you ever watched someone come alive after having been in unrelenting pain?  It is an incredible sight to see the skin around their eyes relax and watch as their faces become bright again.  Can you imagine watching as that happens to everyone around you.  In that day, when the Lord returns to take us with him into heaven, peace will finally reign. There will be no more mourning or crying or pain.  Life will flourish, hearts will soar and we will find joy.

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (8-10)

The Way of Holiness will be a safe place on which to travel and will lead into Zion.  I look forward to that journey one day and I look forward to making it with you!