By Sally Ivaska

Living Water: From Fear to Faith (1)

Streams in the Desert

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
   the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom,
   it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy….

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”…

Gladness and joy will overtake them
   and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
(Isaiah 35:1, 3-4, 10; see also Isaiah 35:1-10)

How do you picture fear? Is it like a wilderness or desert? Is it knees knocking, hands and head drooping, and heart quivering? Is it being lost on some deserted highway? This is how Isaiah sees Israel’s fear on the eve of their exile. But he also sees hope for Israel with equally powerful images — images that speak comfort to those with fearful hearts. Let’s look and consider.


How do the images in the first verses here convey hope on the eve of disaster?


Why would telling someone who is afraid, “God will come to you,” dispel fear more deeply than telling them, “Your troubles will go away”?


What is meant in 35:10: “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away?


When have you been aware of God’s presence bringing beauty and life and strength to a dry and discouraging situation?


Almighty God, as you brought the Lord Jesus back to life from the dead, bring life and joy and gladness to my dry and dusty soul.


Taken from Be Not Afraid by David Ivaska. ©2000 by David Ivaska. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.


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About the Author

Sally Ivaska is the wife of David, mother of four sons, and proud grandmother of Zadie Marie. She has a master of arts in teaching from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. Her passions — small group Bible study and all things cross-cultural — have taken many forms over the years: hosting international students, coordinating small groups for her church, serving as the International Student Advisor at North Park University, and training African students to study Scripture inductively and write their own discussion materials. Sally is never far from a book or a friend and enjoys life most when her “plate is full.”

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