By Sally Lombardo
“Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water….And a highway shall be there, and it will be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way.” Isaiah 35:4-7a, 8
Enhance today’s devotional by reading Isaiah 35.
Recently, I went to the mega-store Target to buy a lot of placemats. My family is adding more young adults, and I was suddenly inspired to create something beautiful. I came home with two new placemat sets in various colors, shapes, and textures, then joyfully put them on the table. I used new plates and napkins and decorated them with flowers. My table seemed to burst forth with love and happiness! Next, I imagined a large group of people who would have enriching conversations and happy moments together. I envisioned “streams in the desert” or something life-giving breaking forth in my dining room. It was a great dream.
Unfortunately, several of my children were traveling, and one was away on his honeymoon. Two live out of town. It wasn’t time for a birthday celebration, and no one was around to see my bounteous table. The next day I pulled up a chair while writing on Isaiah 35, about exile, judgment, and return. I began to see chapter 35 as both prophecy and promise, even a promise that explained why God had prompted me to create a beautiful table in my home. I needed my own new “Way of Holiness” that day. My ears needed to be unstopped from old tapes, and my heart needed to sing for joy after a time of melancholy. I overturned my thirsty soil by creating “ground springs of water,” just with placemats for the people in my home. Creating beauty was God’s way of giving my heart much-needed refreshment.
This historic proclamation in chapter 35 was a layered blessing for the Hebrew people. Although once in exile, God would save His people, and waters would break forth in their wilderness of exile. The promise of bounty was also for future generations, as a Savior would come who would truly open the eyes of the blind and cause the lame man to “leap like a deer.” When Jesus came to earth, burning sand and scorched earth would become a pool of God’s healing. If you listen, God will prompt you to bring beauty and offer healing, creating new streams in ways only He can provide.
Think about your recent past. What is a new stream in the desert God has created in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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