Isaiah 35:1-4 (NRSV)
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 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."
Be strong, do not fear; your God will come.
-- Isaiah 35:4 (NIV)
DRIVING wearily for hours along parched roads in South Africa, we crossed miles and miles of barren, desolate land. A few tufts of dry, brown grass struggled for existence. Dry thorn trees scattered here and there offered little shade. Heat shimmered over the vastness in a haze. "How could there ever be life here again?" I wondered.
Yet I know this land. I knew that soon the spring rains would come. This part of the desert receives only a few inches of rain each year, but that will be enough. A mass of beautiful, exotic wildflowers will spring up overnight. This desolate area will become the sea of color for which it is famous. Indeed, the desert will "burst into bloom."
How often do we go through deserts in our lives with little hope, wondering if there will be life again? The droughts of family problems, times of spiritual dryness, long periods of ill health -- all can cause us to feel hopeless. Even so, our loving Creator is watching over us and will send the rains. There will be life again. Our desert will bloom once more.
Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the promise of new life and of joy up ahead. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
No matter how parched we feel, God can renew us.
The people of South Africa
By Shirley M. Corder (West Cape, South Africa)