I read these verses from Isaiah on the day when the Seattle Times gave a hint at the Governor's budget for the coming two years and all the cuts that are going to be necessary for the budget to balance. I think one of the quotes was, “No one program will be spared the ax.” Good programs, needed programs will be cut. Class rooms will be larger. Special need students will suffer, as will the poor, the elderly and the disabled. It is as if the green grass has turned to brown—the once fertile land has become a desert—and we wonder if there is any hope. How will we manage through this mess?
Some are calling on non-profit groups, such as churches, to step up and do more. I wonder if they know how much we are already doing? (Probably not!) I wonder if they know how many of our people are in the “cut” category. There has been no increase in their pensions, etc., and yet there is the call for us to do more. To meet more of the needs, feed more of the hungry, clothe more of the naked. I wonder, “What about the corporations who have more stored cash than ever before in our history. Should they not be doing more?” Just wondering!
And, in the midst of all of this were the words of Isaiah. The promise of God to a people who were in need. The promise that the deserts will come alive, they will burst forth with new life. When all seems as if there is no hope, hope comes forth.
I still marvel at the crocus (now I am not sure if Isaiah and I are thinking of the same flower)—but, those hardy spring bulbs that are the first to announce the arrival of spring after a long, cold, barren winter come to my mind. It seems as if nothing can stop them. Those of us who grew up in the northeast have pictures or have seen pictures of brightly colored crocuses proudly displaying their beauty in inches of new snow! They will not be deterred by a set-back of cold and snow! They will stand tall and remind us that there is hope – in the barren landscape of snow and cold or the dryness of the desert. God will burst forth – Isaiah goes on to proclaim, “Strengthen the feeble hands; steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come.’” (35:3-4a NIV).|
We have just celebrated Christmas—God came – a babe in a manger. No one expected God to come that way. God is full of surprises.
Who knows? Maybe this will push us to work together. Seek new ways to provide services that are needed. New ways to find food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and clothes for those in need. Maybe, just maybe—God is trying to tell us something – It is time we begin to work together—put aside differences and become creative in our caring for one another—and the desert will bloom again with life.