Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
Today it’s been a beautiful sunny day in Belfast. It’s been warm and sunny, and I’m on holiday. Things don’t get much better than that! There are times, though, when things don’t go so well. There are many people who, in the middle of winter, find themselves affected with SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression triggered by the dark, dismal days. It is inevitable that at times we will be affected by illness, sometimes our own, sometimes of people we are close to and love dearly. On days like that, things really don’t seem quite so cheery.
In today’s verse, we see negativity transformed into positivity. The prophet writes of a time when “the lame will leap like a dear,” and the mute will “shout for joy.” Wildernesses and deserts will be transformed into lush and fertile fields, watered by rivers and streams. The picture painted is a hopeful one, in which any disappointment, depression or disability is taken away from us.
This verse paints a picture of God’s new creation that we can look forward to. That new creation began when Jesus came to live amongst us. His ministry saw him healing a great number of people, and transforming their lives. This continued after he ascended into heaven; in Acts 3, our current Bible study, we see Peter healing a beggar outside the temple, and we literally see the lame man “leap like a deer.” God’s new creation continues to affect positive changes around the world, ushered in by the Holy Spirit that filled the apostles at Pentecost, and which fills all those who accept Jesus as their saviour today.
Why not give thanks for all that God has done for you, ask that you may play your part in the emerging new creation, and pray that one day we will all live in a place like that described in today’s verse?