After a long, dark and gloomy European winter season, I always long for spring. It makes me happy to see the first tiny shoots of spring flowers breaking through the soil. But I also remember years when I was so busy with work and life that I didn’t notice these little messengers of spring. Only when the flowers stood in full bloom did I realise that winter had come to an end.
This Bible verse is referring to a very dark and gloomy situation. At this time, the people of Israel were living in captivity in Babylonia. The temple where they used to meet God had been destroyed. Jerusalem was far away, and, for the Israelites, it felt as if God had forgotten about them. They must have felt hopeless.
But in this situation God asks his people: “Don’t you see that I am already at work? Don’t you understand that hope and healing is around the corner? I will bring you back and give you a new home.” This is what the people of Israel experienced. And this is what we are experiencing through Jesus, our saviour.
God is creating something new and is bringing it into reality. But only when we look carefully will we see the amazing glimmers of hope and the harbingers of change.
- God is transforming people. Most of the time slowly and step by step, but in some cases surprisingly rapidly. We can observe how a child, a young person or an adult is starting a relationship with God and is growing in their love for Jesus and in spiritual maturity.
- God is creating something new amongst our own difficulties and challenges. Maybe he wants us to become people who learn to be thankful in the midst of problems (and that is a huge transformation!). Maybe he is creating a new way and opening new doors and opportunities. But our God is the God of new beginnings.
- Whenever God’s people are obedient to his word and commit themselves to serve a world in need, something new and wonderful happens. Dark and gloomy circumstances become places of hope – God brings streams to the wasteland.
We in Scripture Union all around the world are part of God’s mission. We are part of his transformational plan. But we can’t do what is needed in our own strength. That’s why we need to support each other in prayer. Thank you for supporting our teams around the world as they commit themselves to serve God and a world in need.
International Director, Scripture Union International