Let’s remind ourselves of the verses that began this series:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
But you will be called the priests of the Lord;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land,
Everlasting joy will be theirs.
I hope this short Bible study series was helpful to you. As you reflect on your own grief and sadness, I hope you remember that God wants to give you a double portion for your shame. He also wants to wrap a garland around your shoulders instead of the ashes resting in your hands. Our God wants to anoint your head with oil. In the midst of pain we can feel so disconnected from God, but I believe in our pain God is the closest to us. Just when you think you’re about to faint, God will place a mantle into your hands so that you can praise Him.
What joy the Lord embeds into our sadness, sisters! It may not always be evident and it make take awhile, but Isaiah 61 is proof that God will not allow us to be down for long. There is purpose in our pain. I don’t want to minimize the struggles we face as me mourn and grieve, but I do want to give us a healthy reminder that our God is ready to make a trade. God wants us to loosen our grip on our pain so we can cling to the praise, peace and power He gives us.
Make the trade with God. He has good things to give us when we surrender. Don’t delay receiving your beauty for ashes.