“Joy has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”

art by Yongsung Kim

Something absolutely magical to me is seeing things swirling and catching the sunlight in the wind. Flower blossoms, cotton, leaves—all of it is breathtaking to me.

One day, I was on a walk and talking on the phone. I was frustrated and spent the whole time venting about the person who had hurt me.

Suddenly, I realized that there were cherry blossoms swirling around me. It was beautiful. I hung up and excitedly looked up, but the wind had stopped.

I couldn’t believe I had missed it. But I hadn’t missed it—I was there for it! My focus had just been on something else, something that had left me feeling empty and unsatisfied. 

I was reminded of this experience as I compared Isaiah 24 and 34 with 35. Both discuss Christ’s second coming:

For the those who focus on the things of the world,

The land is desolate,

mirth of drums ceaseth,

noise of rejoicing endeth,

the joy of the harp ceaseth,

strong drink turns bitter,

joy is darkened (Isaiah 24:8-13),

the land shall become a burning pitch and none will pass through for ever and ever (34:10).

For those who are faithful,

blossoms will come in the desert,

joy arises,

Ears of the deaf will be unstopped,

lame men will leap and dance,

the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

The parched ground will become a pool (Isaiah 25:2-7).

In direct contrast to Isaiah 34:10, “an highway shall be there, […] The way of holiness. But the unclean shall not pass over it.”

What is the difference?

In both instances, their eyes are opened. They are both there, but—like my walk—what they focus on determines their experience.

For those who focused on the vain things of the world, they will see them burn. They will finally see the true depth of the water they drink from, and the shallowness will become a barren land of desolation.

The inevitable ending to their path will now come to sight.

But if your focus is on the things of God, your path will not end—it will turn into a highway. Your joy will not cease, but become everlasting. Leaping and singing will abound, for you drink from living water.

And my favorite part? It shall blossom abundantly.

When we look up and turn our focus to Him, we will get to see it.

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