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.
Isaiah 34 is one of those chapters. But then we come to chapter 35, which can feel like an oasis in the desert. In this chapter we glimpse a vision of the future, a time beyond judgment, when God will restore creation. Part of this restoration includes healing: blind eyes opened, deaf ears unplugged, the lame leaping, once voiceless people singing. Isaiah 35 inspires Israel to hope for the day of God’s salvation when all things will be renewed.
This hope in Isaiah helps us understand the ministry of Jesus. He healed people, not only to demonstrate his compassion, but also as a sign that the kingdom of God had dawned. In fact, when John the Baptist questioned Jesus’s messianic credentials, Jesus sent the following message back to John: “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Luke 7:22). In other words, Jesus was explaining that he was the one through whom God was fulfilling Israel’s hope once proclaimed through Isaiah.
In Jesus, the kingdom of God had indeed come near. And it is still near today for those of us who put our trust in the Lord. Thus, healing is possible in today’s world, not only for individual diseases and disabilities, but for social ills as well. We who know the Lord have begun to experience the healing he offers. Moreover, we become, by his power, wounded healers for others.
Yet, like those who first heard the prophecy of Isaiah 35, we yearn for the complete healing that has yet to come, for all things, including ourselves. We live in the “already and not yet” of the kingdom. It’s already here, thanks be to God! And it is still yet to come in all fullness.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you experienced God’s healing in your life? How?
Do you yearn for the fullness of healing yet to come? In what ways?
How could you be an agent of God’s healing in your part of the world? In your family? In your workplace? In your neighborhood? And beyond?
Gracious God, for all the ways I have experienced your healing I give you thanks. I can’t even imagine what I’d be like apart from the outpouring of your grace in my life. You have healed me, not only physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. All praise be to you, my Healer!
Help me to be an agent of your healing in this world. I have no power to do this on my own. But your power through me can do wonderful things. Give me faith, Lord, as I pray for the sick. Give me compassion as I reach out to those who are broken. Give me wisdom as I seek to mend broken systems. May I be used for the work of your kingdom today, even as I look forward to the full coming of your kingdom in the future. Amen.