Isaiah is one of my favorite Bible books. It may seem stuffy and archaic to some, but to me, it magnifies the glory of God. Certain sections in the last third of the book get delightfully apocalyptic in a Back to the Future sort of way. Like Daniel. Or Revelation.
Tucked inside all this rich, end-times prose, you’ll find this jewel:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3, NKJV)
If you’re a solo mama, you probably know a lot more about ashes than you do about beauty, and mourning than joy, heaviness than praise. But how comforting to know the Lord promises to console those who mourn. Like those of us who mourn the loss of a marriage. Stability. Companionship.
Do you see anything missing in the passage? What about God’s promise to take away my troubles and give me everything I ask Him for? You mean, it’s not there?
So much for health, wealth and prosperity.
I keep having to come back to this verse every time I start thinking I don’t deserve my lot in life. Railing at God for the trials He’s forcing me to endure.
But if I didn’t mourn, how would I ever know his sweet comfort? If I didn’t know ashes, how could I know beauty? Comfort is much sweeter in the valley than on the mountaintop.
Next time, we’ll talk about a real-life example of beauty from ashes. And it’s about 60 miles from my home.