The Wilderness Shall Blossom

God saves us in many ways. Sometimes, He changes our environment. Sometimes, He heals us. And in some cases, He opens a path to a better life, just as He led the children of Israel out of Egypt.

All three of those manifestations of grace are on display in Isaiah 35.

  1. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (verse 1).
  2. “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped” (verse 5).
  3. “An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness” (verse 8).

As I’ve pondered this chapter this week, I’ve been particularly drawn to the first promise: that God can make our wildernesses blossom. This imagery returns in chapter 51:

The Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Isaiah 51:3, 2 Nephi 8:3

Early Latter-day Saint settlers in Utah viewed their extensive irrigation project as a fulfillment of this prophecy. (See J. Michael Hunter, “The Desert Shall Blossom As the Rose: Pioneering Irrigation,” Pioneer, Summer 2003, 10-14.) But I’ve been thinking about it in a more personal way. What wildernesses are there in my life, and how can God make them blossom? For me, a wilderness can represent a part of my life which currently appears to be unfruitful or disorganized. It can be a work project, a difficult relationship, or an area in my house or yard that needs some attention. I think God’s promise is very literal and personal: As I rely on Him, He can change my wildernesses into gardens.

The middle section of the anthem “Let the Mountains Shout for Joy” by Evan Stephens is based on this passage. As you listen to this performance by the Tabernacle Choir, think about how God has made previously barren parts of your life flourish and how He can do the same with other aspects of your life that may currently seem unfruitful.

Today, I will trust God to help me improve my circumstances. I will be grateful for the former wildernesses in my life which are now blossoming, and I will have faith that parts of my life which are less productive today can become fruitful by God’s grace.

4 thoughts on “The Wilderness Shall Blossom

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  1. Thank you for your insight today. It was timely as I have seen many areas in my life close recently and the future look barren. I will trust in Him who can make the wilderness blossom.

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  2. Thanks Paul. This reminds me of a sister who pointed out how “faith crisis” is as natural as wandering through the wilderness. Whether it was Lehi’s family, Israel or Christ himself, the wilderness represents a trial where we can find the Lord and strengthen our faith in His mercy and goodness. Appreciate you reminding me of this lesson!

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I agree that we all have experiences which feel like passing through a wilderness, and those experiences give us a great opportunity to demonstrate and strengthen our faith in God. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for letting me know.

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