Let the WILDERNESS and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
Over the years I have had a number of friends from missionary Religious Orders. One of them in particular brought this passage of Isaiah alive by talking about the startling transformation of the desert in the rainy season. Tiny bursts of colour would appeared in a landscape that had been dry and unchanged for months.
In Isaiah’s theology the blooming of the desert is entirely God’s initiative. The Israelites have done nothing at all to bring this about. They are simply to be the witnesses of God’s glory. That the most arid areas will enjoy the new life and abundance of Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon is the cause of great joy.
We are familiar with wilderness as a metaphor, not just in biblical literature. I am often struck by the fact that what one person experiences as ‘wilderness’ might not be experienced in the same way by another. We can help each other to see those tiny bursts of colour in what feels dry and arid in our daily lives. God can use it all.
Has anything new blossomed in your life this Advent?
(Isaiah 35:1-10, Tuesday, Week Two)