Isaiah 35 is a stark contrast to chapter 34. Chapter 34 is about God’s judgment upon Israel for not trusting in Him. Verses 2-3 say it all, “The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.” But then the very next chapter, everything just suddenly turns around. Isaiah 35:1-2 say, “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. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.” Isaiah 34 is like Star Wars Episode 5, The Empire Strikes Back, when the Empire destroys the rebellion. But then Isaiah 35 is just like Star Wars Episode 6, The Return of the Jedi.


1995 was the turning point of my life. I had just graduated from college. I moved back into my mom’s house in the calm and peaceful quiet country area of Indiana. I had been a Christian for about a couple of years now. I enjoyed the church I attended in college because they helped me to study God’s word. But now, I had no exposure to Bible study or really to no church at all. I had no job, though I had been looking for one in the area. Two weeks into my “furlough”, I received a call from my college Bible teacher. She asked if I would like to move to Chicago where I could study and grow more in God’s word. The climax of my life had come. Would I trust in the world, in the things that I really wanted for myself – like living in the country? Or would I put all my trust in God and go to a huge city that I knew nothing about?


iceberg"For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!'"

Luke 4:18,19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 If you happen to come across an iceberg, only 10% of its form is visible to the naked eye. The 90% is deeply hidden in the dark icy waters. In Pete Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, he uses an iceberg as a metaphor for daily life. This fact also applies Christians and non-Christians. The 10 percent represents our visible public persona. We try to represent ourselves as nice, friendly and respectful people.  For Christians, we want others to see us as morally good people who attend church and participate regularly. For many of us, the 90% remains hidden and untouched by Christ. It consists of our private pains, wounds and many other unprocessed emotional issues.  We try to ignore or hide it, but it will eventually impact the surface of our lives. This was the experience of Pastor Scazzero.