“The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus. They will burst into bloom, and rejoice with joy and singing.” (Isaiah 35:1-2a, Common English Bible) Read all of Isaiah 35 here.
When was the last time you got impatient? Was it at the store, standing in that long check-out line? Or was it sitting in traffic, wondering why the light is green and nobody is moving? Maybe it was with your children, or with your parents?
This time of year we are more prone to get impatient.
We are rushing and hurrying along to get everything in order. There are presents to be bought, ordered and wrapped. Then, there are travel plans to be made and meals to be cooked. And on top of all that, vacation time is coming so our work load increases.
And when 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 way down in our toes and works its way up 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 is hard to see anything good . . . . or holy . . . around us.
When Moses was leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt, they were real good at fussing. They wandered around in the wilderness for forty years, and most of that time was spent in a good fuss.
But in the poetic words in Isaiah 35, there is no fussing.
The Babylonians have conquered the Israelites. As a result, instead of leaving the people in their home lands, the Israelites have been exiled, scattered all over the empire. Families were separated and the people were forced into new cultures and 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. Instead, it is a way of hope.
In God, this wilderness experience is a journey of hope.
So, this Advent, remember that with the coming of Christ comes the day when there will be no more hopelessness, no more sorrow, and no more struggle. And, yes, no more fussing.
Lord, God, open our hearts, minds, and eyes to see that the wilderness journey is a journey of hope. Lead us, Lord, out of exile into the redemptive home. Amen.