Pillar Journal
Vol. 5 No.1 / Advent 2022 - A seasonal journal produced by Pillar Church in Holland, MI to guide us through the Christian year.
Pillar Journal

Week 2 No. 2

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Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God. He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,*
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

– Isaiah 35

Knowing that God is present with us in our own seasons of wilderness can sometimes leave us with a deeper wondering of how God could possibly use the seasons and places we find ourselves in for good.

Our journey with God through the wilderness during the course of our lives and particularly during this liturgical season of Advent reminds us that God’s desire is not to dismantle and destroy seasons of wilderness in our lives, but to be present with us in them and ultimately bring life giving beauty out of them.

In Isaiah 35 we see God take his purposes for wilderness a step further than wandering to reveal that God will actually change the make-up of the wilderness itself into something of redemptive beauty. God states in verses six and seven of Isaiah 35 that he will make the “waters break forth in the wilderness and [make] streams in the desert” and “the burning sand shall become a pool.”

The purposes of God in our waiting and wandering are not fully known and at times can be frustratingly difficult and frankly, unfathomable. We can hold fast to the truth revealed to us in Isaiah 35 that God continues to fulfill his promise to make all things new even though our ability to understand it will ultimately fail us.

God not only fulfills his promise to make all things new in his sustaining of us through times of wilderness, but in the time and love he takes to turn those seasons of wilderness into life giving streams.

We continue to wait for our God to make streams in the deserts of the wilderness in which we find ourselves, but we do so in ultimate hope and anticipation, for our God is a God who keeps his promises.

Emily Hanrahan, Advent 2022

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