December 10, 2013

God above the tree line

By Grace Boehm, a sophomore history major from Merriam, Kan.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 35:1-10 (NRSV)

To me, the journey of life is reflected in Isaiah 35:1-10. What came to my mind while exploring this text was the mention of “wilderness” and how my experiences in the Rocky Mountains could relate. Climbing a mountain is an internal struggle as well as a physical one. With blistered feet, sore hands and sweaty body, also comes the mentally demanding fight to keep moving forward. One part of the passage says, “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.’”

I find myself overwhelmed with seeing God’s presence through the fatigue and cold that I feel above the tree line. It’s not for the weak of heart, but God is present throughout. Personally, I believe that the wilderness is beautiful, wild and refreshing to the soul. It is where I feel most at home, but it comes with dangers too. I think that in Isaiah, the importance of life through salvation is clear. Water will burst forth into the wilderness and all will be lush and green. Happy are those whose help is in the Lord!

Where have you found the beautiful parts of life even amidst trial and tribulation? Whether climbing a mountain or bearing the heavy load of life, it is important to ask God to be present and give support. With God, anything is possible.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 35:1-10 (NRSV)
The Return of the Redeemed to Zion
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
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.
A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.



Comments (7)

  1. Thank you! “Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear!” I need those words today. Going through various health issues at times makes it hard to see God, feel his presence, and see Him at work. Thank you for these encouraging words today.

    Sandy December 10, 2013 |
  2. Why do I fear the heights when I know God is there?

    Raymond Martin December 10, 2013 |
  3. thank you so much for this timely encouragement, by your experience, and by God’s own words of truth. I really needed this today! God bless.

    Diana Thomas December 10, 2013 |
  4. Thanks Grace. Wilderness for me? Not so much, but being outdoors (even close to home) can make the heart sing. And indeed it does! A brisk walk (even in cold weather) is a delight, and from my kitchen window I can see my yard and all creatures great and small!

    Debbie Lackowitz December 10, 2013 |
  5. Thank you for this encouragement for me as well, as I struggle with a health issue. I have the privilege of being close to the wilderness right outside my back door. I will look out on our beautiful snowy woods and know that God is near. Blessings of the Season to all.

    Peggy December 10, 2013 |
  6. Reading your devotion immediately reminded me of the book, “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard written some years back, but a gem of a book with the climbing a mountain theme!

    Barbara Clark December 10, 2013 |
  7. Grace, your devotion “Above the Tree Line” was very up-lifting. I suffer from Major Depression and it worsens greatly at Christmas,. i’ve been “above the tree line” in the Rockies. Its beautiful! Your devotion will help me shift my thoughts from being dowm to being up there “above the tree line”. How refreshing. Thaqnk you.

    Michael Huntington December 11, 2013 |