Hope for Restoration (NLT)
35 1Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. 2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. 3 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. 4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. 9 Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it.
10Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem[a] singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
With all that is going on in our world today, I need verses like those in Isaiah 35. They fill me with hope to get me through the dark days. Many of us who have heard the teachings of Jesus, wonder if we are in the last days as He described them. Some scholars say yes because . . . and they give their reasons. Others say no because . . . has not happened yet. Prophesy is not easy for us to see while we are living through it. In fact, Jesus walked along the road with two men and explained to them all the prophecy in the bible about Himself for it was missed by the scholars of that day.
I may not know the answer to whether or not we are in the final days. What I do know is that this life can be hard. A loved one dies; we lose a job we’ve had for 25 years; we are told we have a fatal illness. We grow tired and discouraged when we hear of senseless acts of violence and natural disasters killing thousands of people. We look for signs that God has not forsaken us as the rug is pulled out from under us. Isaiah assures me that one day the LORD will display His glory. There will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! In the meantime, we need to strengthen those who have tired hands, encourage those who have weak knees, say to those with fearful hearts, “be strong and do not fear for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you”. And we need people to do the same for us! We just have a little farther to go. Hold on saints! No matter what this life brings to each of us, we have the assurance that one day God will redeem it all.
“Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.”
Heavenly Father: We need You and we need each other to get through each day. We are not meant to live life isolated from either! Your Holy Spirit fills us so we can then, in turn, fill others. Lord, we need to reach out to those who are hurting, weak, and discouraged. Work in our hearts even today to see the needs. Let us fill them with hope–the hope that You will give us enough strength to get through each day until we are finally with you forever. In Jesus name, Amen.