I hope most of you have had a holiday over the summer or are at least looking forward to a break later this year. I find that I come to points in the year when I need to ‘get away from it all’ and have a change of my four walls. I crave relaxation and rest. I need to build up my strength and I want to return to my lot in life feeling refreshed and energised.

I revisited the book of Isaiah chapter 35 in recent weeks and found it to be a chapter that offers a vision of hope, new strength and courage. The vision is presented with an image of a desert - a desert of weakness, fear, without sound or sight. It is a thirsty and needy place. Then the promise of God’s life-giving water will flow through the desert; the burning sand will become a lake, and dry land will be filled with springs. Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow. Then ‘the desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands. The desert will sing and shout for joy’.

Is there an area of your life that is parched and listless? Is your spirit in need of refreshment and encouragement? Turn to God who meets all our needs in Christ Jesus. He promises to ‘Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. Tell everyone who is discouraged, “Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue”. The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. The lame will leap and dance and those who cannot speak will shout for joy!’

Hoping blessings of encouragement, vitality and joy for each one of you.

Birgitte Grace Chaplain,
Westbury Grange