Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
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.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs
(Isaiah 35 :5-7a)
Do you ever feel a certain unease even when things are going well? Somehow there is something missing, just knowing life should be more than this.
In today’s passage, Isaiah wrote to his fellow Israelites who were being exiled, but who would later be allowed to return to their homeland. His powerful poetry shows marvelous things that God has done, is doing, and will do.
Not only did Isaiah speak to his Jewish compatriots, but as prophet he gave a preview of what Jesus would do at the cross and will do when he returns.
Yes, a major part of Isaiah’s promise has already been fulfilled … but much remains to be completed. We call this the already and the not yet. Understanding the difference between these helps keep us from two misunderstandings of how God is working today.
Misunderstanding # 1. We overestimate how much of our problems and ills God will heal now…….and get disheartened because he has not lived up to all our expectations. We expect our best life now, so we get embittered when we lose a job or have declining health or family feuds. We focus on what has not gotten fixed and are discouraged because God seems so slow at answering our prayers.
Misunderstanding # 2 Is underestimating how much the Lord wants to do now. We get so discouraged by what happened in #1 that we neglect how God is on the move now and does care for us. We forget that God says: “Fear not, I am with you.”
Even though there is no guarantee that all our burning sand will be cooled in this lifetime, it is guaranteed that God transforms how we react to the heat we face in this life. Our tongue does start to shout for joy.
And we warmly anticipate that one day our Lord Jesus will return and the rest of the “not yet” will become “now”.