The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, . . . He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, . . . to comfort all who mourn, . . . to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:1-3, NKJV). If we had none other, this one Bible reference would suffice to tell us that we have a loving God who will light our way through the darkest night.
1. God will give us beauty for ashes, radiance after the ashes of the volcanic eruptions that overwhelm our lives. It’s well known that the land is renewed after fire blackens fields and forests. Beauty indeed appears after the ashes. Crumbling lava and volcanic ash make the most fertile soil. So God grants us enrichment after we are consumed by a fire that we fear will destroy us. “He lifts [us] from the dust—yes, from a pile of ashes” (1 Sam. 2:8, TLB).
2. God will give us the oil of joy for mourning. Jesus often went to the Mount of Olives to pray. I’ve thought about Jesus’ agony that night being the oil pressed out, to become our oil of joy. The garden experience that night was horrendous: “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears . . .” (Heb. 5:7, NKJV). We need not be ashamed of our tears—Jesus wept several times.
3. God will give us the garment of praise for our spirit of heaviness. We are to wrap ourselves in praise. It is will, not feeling. The feeling comes after we have obeyed and praised, in spite of!
Jesus’ “garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom” (John 19:23, NIV). In His time people indicated great sorrow by tearing their clothes, but His particular garb was left whole. Is this our garment of praise, praise that Jesus comforts and saves us? Come, let us wrap Jesus’ seamless garment around us!