Read Isaiah 35:1-10.
When was the last time you got impatient? Was it at the store, standing in that long check-out line? Was it sitting in traffic, wondering why the light is green and nobody is moving? Was with your children, or with your parents?
This time of year, especially, I think we are more prone to get impatient. We are rushing and hurrying along to get everything in order. There are presents to be bought or ordered, presents to be wrapped, travel plans to be made, meals to be cooked, and on top of all that, because vacation time is coming, our work load seems to increase. And whenever we finally have a few moments of rest, there is someone or something that beckons our attention, and impatience sets in. And we fuss.
I’ve been there. A good fuss starts down in our toes and works its way up and out our mouths, and sometimes quicker than we realize. And we are good at it! By gosh, we are good at fussing. And when we get that fuss going, it is hard to stop it. It is hard to see anything good . . . . or holy . . . around us.
The Hebrew people, when being led by Moses out of Egypt to the Promised Land were good at fussing too. They wandered around in the wilderness for forty years, and most of that time was spent in a good fuss.
But in these poetic words in Isaiah 35, there is no fussing. The Israelites have been conquered by the great world-power of its day, the Babylonians. As a result, instead of leaving the people in their home lands, the Babylonians exiled the people, scattering them all over the empire. This resulted in families being separated and the people being forced into new cultures and new places.
Isaiah paints a portrait of the journey home from exile, through the wilderness, back home to Zion. And this journey is not a journey of fussing. The wilderness is not a punishment, it is a way of hope. It is a hope that in the midst of the wilderness of our lives, God can and will transform.
Scholar Bruce Birch writes this:
“God’s coming signals a future for those who have given in to hopelessness and sorrow [or fussing]. In God, wilderness becomes not a journey of struggle [or fussing] but of hope, and the Advent season rekindles this hope for a way through the wilderness anew each year.”
So, this Advent, remember that with the coming of Christ comes the day when there will be no more hopelessness, no more sorrow, no more struggle, and no more fussing.