35 Imagine the wilderness whooping for joy,
the desert’s unbridled happiness with its spring flowers.
2 It will happen! The deserts will come alive with new growth budding and blooming,
singing and celebrating with sheer delight.
The glory of Lebanon’s cedars and the majesty of Carmel and Sharon
will spill over to the deserts.
The glory of the Eternal One will be on full display there,
and they will revel in the majestic splendor of our God.
3 So, with confidence and hope in this message,
strengthen those with feeble hands, shore up the weak-kneed and weary.
4 Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful,
“Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear.
Look, here—your God! Right here is your God!
The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs.
None other than God will give you success.
He is coming to make you safe.”
5 Then, such healing, such repair: the eyes of the blind will be opened;
the ears of the deaf will be clear.
6-7 The lame will leap like deer excited;
they will run and jump tirelessly and gracefully.
The stutterer, the stammerer, and the tongue of the mute
will sing out loud and clear in joyful song.
Waters will pour through the deserts;
streams will flow in godforsaken lands.
Burning sands and hardened wastelands will become pools, shimmering with life;
the thirsty ground will drink deep from refreshing springs.
Abandoned villages where predators once lurked will become grassy playgrounds.
Dry, arid land will turn lush and green.
8 And the road to this happy renovation will be clearly signed.
People will declare the way itself to be holy—the route, “sacred.”
Only those who are right with God
will be able to walk its pleasant path,
And nobody—no visitor, no dimwit—will get lost along it.
9 There’ll be no lions lying in wait, no predators or dangers in sight.
Only those made right with God will journey there.
10 Those whom the Eternal One has recalled from a punishing exile,
they will go along so easily. They will walk this path,
Come waltzing to Zion, singing their way
to that place of right relation to God.
An aura of joy never-ending will attend them;
they will clasp gladness and joy to their hearts,
While sadness and despair evaporate into thin air.