Read: Isaiah 35:1-10
[E]verlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (v. 10)
Joy! This wonderful gift is the major theme of this chapter. This is God’s true desire for us. The prophet describes, in beautiful symbolism, three sources of joy:
Creation is renewed. The desert bursts into bloom; the burning sand becomes a pool and the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
People are renewed. The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, and the dumb speak. Inward renewal comes. The discouraged receive strength; courage and confidence replace fear.
Community is renewed. There is a highway, the Way of Holiness. The redeemed become a joyful community as they sing on a pilgrimage to everlasting joy.
There are parallel ways in which we experience joy now. For example, when we revel in the beauty of creation and care for it. When we use our God-given bodies and minds to the best of our abilities, and experience a sense of purpose. When we fellowship with believers across cultural and racial lines. But we know that these joys are partial and transient. In the Narnia story, The Last Battle, C. S. Lewis has a delightful phrase to describe our pilgrimage: “further up and further in.” May our joy increase as we mature in age and grow in Christ. —Gordon Van Wylen
As you pray, ask God to sustain your relationship to him, so that you may have a foretaste of the eternal joy that awaits you in Christ.