"Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy." — Isaiah 35:6
In my early fifties, I began to have trouble with my feet, and eventually I had to have operations on both of them. Before that, I took walking for granted. I even used to look at elderly folks and wonder why they walked so stiffly. Now I wistfully look at children skipping and playing, and at young people who have a spring in their step. I know what it’s like now to have difficulty walking.
Part of the picture of joy in Isaiah 35 was fulfilled one day when Peter and John went to the temple to pray and saw a lame man begging for money. “Look at us!” said Peter, and the man turned toward them. Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” The man’s feet and ankles instantly became strong, and he jumped up and began to walk. Then he went along with them into the temple, “walking and jumping, and praising God” (Acts 3:4-8).
Imagine young deer leaping about in the open and bounding over brooks and fallen trees in their woodland playground. That’s like a picture of people celebrating with the sheer joy of redemption and new life in Jesus, who has come to restore all things. “Gladness and joy will overtake them,” for they will no longer bear the crushing effects of sin and disease or any guilt, because Jesus bore it all on the cross.