Archive for July, 2011

“Barrenness to bloom with rivers in the desert”: theme for the New Year—a second glance just beyond the halfway point

July 13, 2011
 Among the theme verses for the New Year is Isaiah 43:19-21.
We are just beyond halfway point of this year, and I am reposting this initial blog with an addendum.

Some of the theme verses for the New Year are found in Isaiah 43:19-21, a passage that introduces the following poem:


19  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?   I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

20  The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

21  This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

Isaiah 43:19-21                                                    

I am waiting with my eyes fixed toward open skies

That I might behold the wonders of this new thing.

From parched, lifeless places now shall it spring forth,

As you shall make a highway in the wilderness.

Even in the wasteland shall you give cool waters;

You bless and refresh with rivers in the desert.

You have formed me for yourself: for your good pleasure

You chose me and set me apart to show forth praise.

All things for your glory: even the barren womb

You have prepared to bring forth life-changing seed.

Declare the Word and thus shall it most surely be:

No word of God spoken shall be void of power.

Speak the Word only and barrenness shall vanish,

And fertile ground shall bring forth fruit in due season.

The poem immediately brought to mind a popular song composed by Don Moen, “God Will Make a Way”:

Here is another poem with a similar theme:                           

Even in Winter

 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

 That brings forth its fruit in its season,

 Whose leaf also shall not wither;

 And whatever he does shall prosper.

 Psalm 1:3

Mournful dark notes of the wind’s contralto solo

Pierce the heart and chill the soul with its somber tones.

Shrouded in widow’s weeds all of creation groans,

Bemoans winter’s wilderness, lifeless and hollow.

Tall stark naked trees where nothing appears to grow                

Bend in the wind, vacant lodges closed for the season.

To find life in this dead time seems beyond reason,

Yet tender buds sleep in blankets of ice and snow.

Though leaves once green have faded, fallen to frostbite,

Leaf buds cluster in secret places to keep warm;

Buds wrapped in snow are stronger than before the storm.

Soon the voice of the bridegroom will ring in the night.

The time nears when the turtledove returns to sing,                                              

When ice-covered buds will blossom: firstfruits of spring 

Even in winter, growth takes place that shall blossom in due season.

I recall some of the remarks that I made during the eulogy for an individual whose earthly body had been cremated.  As I was reflecting on the greatness of God, two verses of scripture came to mind, both of which are saying the same thing, but in different ways. I recited this poem which speaks of the God of seemingly impossible situations. It opens with two verses that remind us that God is all-powerful, whether expressed in terms of the possibility or impossibility.  I thought of a principle from Geometry that “Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.”

No Matter How You Phrase It

And Jesus looking upon them saith,  

With men it is impossible, but not with God:

for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10:27

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Luke 1:37

There is none like God who never fails to come through:

Whether you say “With God all things are possible”

Or say “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

No matter how you phrase it, the Word is still true.

As those who observe the times, we wisely surmise

That the Prince of Peace ascended to end all strife,

Leading captive even death to release new life,

Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise.

We boldly declare the Word of God and assert

The Providence of an all-wise Father who makes

Barrenness to bloom with rivers in the desert.

With the Word of Life, even death itself awakes.

We seek to walk in wisdom and number our days,

Humbly discerning that your ways are not our ways. 

The line “Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise” brings to mind the verse which says “God gives beauty for ashes.” Did you know that ashes under extreme heat and pressure form gemstones, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and such come from ashes.  You see this with many of the volcanoes that erupt: when they settle and cool, you find beautiful gems. Watch God turn it around, what seems like a disaster, He can turn it into a magnificent triumph. The lyrics to an old song say,

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?       

Got any mountains you cannot tunnel through?

God specializes in things called impossible,

And He can do what no other power, Holy Ghost power can do.

In the account of Abraham and Sara, who were confronted with a seemingly impossible situation, we find an astounding demonstration of the power of God, who “specializes in things called impossible.” The song “God Specializes” was one of the popular songs originally recorded by the Roberta Martin Singers:

When you face a situation that some, perhaps including yourself, have called impossible, take comfort and recall the words of Jeremiah 32:27 :

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Sung by the late Calvin Hunt with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, “Nothing is Impossible with God” reminds us of that profound truth.


In re-reading this post, I realized that I had musical selections related to the first aspect of God’s power—that nothing is impossible with God. In reflecting on the second feature of His omnipotence, I thought of two songs that emphasize that all things are possible with God.

John Butler performs an old school traditional song entitled: “Only Believe” with this memorable refrain:

Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe,
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe.

Another worship song from Hillsong featuring Darlene Szcech expresses the same truth in another way: “All Things are Possible”

At the mid-point of this swiftly passing year, I have come to realize once again that the power of God is beyond our comprehension. Romans 11:33 of the Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!

I concur with the Psalmist who declares, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. “ Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty:“He is God of the impossible” as well as “God of the possible,” no matter how you phrase it.