“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.” – Isaiah 35 v1.
These words struck a chord… the driest July on record, a hosepipe ban, no likelihood of rain for weeks. I’ve already had to help some plants with heat shock- in England! – and I thought a couple of them were dying. Isn’t grass supposed to be green? I am fervently hoping for rain. The photo shows a stag sheltering from the hot sun under the shade of the strong trees- he was saving energy and staying cool in a long trial by heat.
This young stag is awaiting his destiny to lead the herd and father the next generation: he watched me carefully in case I might endanger “his” hinds. He “knows” the future will get better. This is a picture of confident faith: having lived through two or three summers, he expects things will change for the better.
It’s hard to wait and stay hopeful. Isaiah is sometimes described as the prophet of hope- and in chapter 35 he brings a message to those who need to reminded that God is the Redeemer, the rescuer, of those who trust in Him.
Dangerous days of volatile politics and strong enemies; the threat of unending exile, and the fear that hope is no longer a viable option.
Just at the right time, God sends a message. If you can make time to read the whole chapter, it’s worth it! Here’s a taster-
“Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song. Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain. Even lowly jackals will have water to drink, and barren grasslands flourish richly.” – Isaiah 35 v6
The prophecy ends with a promise that even the parched land and desperate hearts will be saved- and “gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (v10)
How parched is your garden? Your heart? How strong is your hope?
Did you know that in some Christian traditions the antler-crowned stag is seen as symbolic of Jesus, trampling and destroying the devil?
Put Isaiah’s promise together with Jesus, and hope suddenly becomes a certainty.