Evening, June 1, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“And her wilderness He will make like Eden.” — Isaiah 51:3

I envision a howling wind in a wilderness, a great and terrible desert, likened to the Sahara. I perceive nothing in it to relieve the eye; all around I am wearied with a vision of hot and arid sand, strewn with ten thousand bleaching skeletons of wretched men who have expired in anguish, having lost their way in the unforgiving wasteland. What an appalling sight! How horrible! A sea of sand without bounds, and without an oasis, a cheerless graveyard for a forlorn race ! But behold and wonder! Springing up suddenly from the scorching sand I see a plant of distinction; and as it grows it buds, the bud expands—it is a rose, and at its side a lily bows its modest head; and, miracle of miracles, as the fragrance of those flowers is diffused the wilderness is transformed into a fruitful field! Everything around it blossoms extraordinarily, the glory of Lebanon is given to it, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon. Do not call it Sahara, call it Paradise. Do not speak of it any longer as the valley of death and shadows, for where before the skeletons lay bleaching in the sun, now behold a resurrection is proclaimed, and up spring the dead, a mighty army, full of immortal life. Jesus is that plant of distinction, and his presence makes all things new. Nor is the wonder less in each individual’s salvation. Far away, dear reader, I behold you cast out, an infant, uncovered, unwashed, defiled with your own blood, left to be food for beasts of prey. But look, a jewel has been thrown into your being by a divine hand, and for its sake you have been pitied and tended by divine providence; you are washed and cleansed from your defilement, you are adopted into heaven’s family, the fair seal of love is upon your forehead, and the ring of faithfulness is on your hand—you are now a prince of God, though you were once cast away, an orphan. O exceedingly prize the matchless power and grace which changes deserts into gardens and makes the barren heart to sing for joy!