Praise for Despair

God grows beautiful things out of the soil of pain.  The Gospel of Luke records how Jesus read from a scroll of Isaiah when he was in the synagogue at his hometown of Nazareth shortly after he began his ministry (see Luke 4:14 – 21). Jesus was clearly applying those centuries-old words about the Messiah to himself. Here’s the full passage from which Jesus read:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:1 – 3).

The mission statement Jesus was announcing will be completely fulfilled when he returns and sets the world right again. But Jesus’ mission now includes taking the “ashes” of suffering and replacing them with “a crown of beauty” — right in the middle of our pain. He is that good.

When you come to God broken and hurting, he will pour his wholeness into your brokenness. You can come to him hopeless, and as you meet with him, he will remind you that he hasn’t abandoned you, that you’re not alone. He will give you his hope right in the midst of your pain.

You can come to God deeply grieving. In your grief, he will remind you of the truth that he is working for your good and that one day he will restore all things. And many times, just by sitting with him, you’ll experience deep joy even as you hurt.

It’s not that Jesus just fixes everything instantly when you sit with him. He doesn’t. It’s not that he makes the pain evaporate; he doesn’t do that either. He stands with you in your pain. He lets you feel his presence. He gives you himself. And that depth of comfort, that closeness of a Friend, brings beauty, joy and peace to your hurting heart.

Isaiah 42:1-4

Taken from NIV The Great Rescue Bible

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