Since I often talk about the importance of getting into the Word, I started a series where I share one scripture or passage of scripture each Wednesday and talk about why it has meant so much to me. I hope it encourages you to get into the Word and to use these scriptures as starting points perhaps, but to also find meaningful things in the Bible on your own as well.
Ever since my first miscarriage I feel like I've been on a roller coaster; highs and lows that I feel are out of my control. But I've noticed there is one thing that keeps me stable, and that is God's Word. Hebrews 4:12 says that it is ALIVE, meaning that we can interact and engage with it! When you open His Word with an open mind, He will fill it as you read and you will walk away feeling encouraged, challenged, peaceful, and joyful no matter your earthly circumstances!
The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
| ISAIAH 61:1-3 |
Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it contains so many promises that I cling to. I still remember the first time I heard this verse and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was listening to a Bible study online and when the pastor spoke about this verse I fell in love with it. At the time I wasn't even experiencing extreme heartache or suffering, but these verses spoke to me even then. There are several promises contained in just three verses that bring so much hope to me:
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted
The Hebrew word for "bind" means to bandage, dam, give relief, and healer. I was immediately drawn to the word "dam" because it's kind of unexpected. But a dam is a barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level. This is what Jesus does for us in the midst of our heartbreak! He knows exactly how much water to let in before we break or are flooded. And on top of that he gives us relief and heals us. He is so good.
to comfort all that mourn
He provides more comfort than anything else in the world. We often turn to other things such as Netflix or food when we are in need of comfort, but it is so fleeting. It only provides us comfort in that moment. When we go to Jesus in search of comfort he blesses us with peace that surpasses our understanding and an eternal perspective. The situation causing so much pain most likely won't go away, but somehow he eases the pain.
to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion
I could be wrong, but this immediately reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we have hope! There is something very different about mourning with hope and mourning without hope. Grief can feel very dark at times and it's easy to fall into a pit of despair, but the antidote for the darkness you are facing is The Light (1 John 1:5).
to give unto them beauty for ashes
I used to think this verse was mainly in reference to heaven for some reason. Like once we get to heaven we will see this promise, but I was (thankfully) so wrong. It would be hard to go back and change even my two miscarriages because of all of the good things that have come from them. I like to say that beautiful things have been born out of my losses. Beauty has indeed risen from my ashes. And the beauty God has molded out of my ashes is just a sliver of a glimpse of what we will see in heaven.
the oil of joy for mourning
He gives joy in the midst of mourning! I can testify to this because he did it for me. After my first miscarriage I really relied on people. These people weren't bad, the vast majority of them were godly and pointed me to Christ, but after my second loss, God took that away and made me rely solely on Him. I'm not saying that people weren't there for me in my second loss, because they were! But the Lord was using them in a different way and I had to lean into Him instead of them. I immersed myself into His Word and found Nehemiah's words to be so true: The joy of the Lord IS my strength! His presence casts out the dark, when you are in His presence you find FULLNESS of joy! That's not to say you still don't feel the pain, but it helps lessen the ache.
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
It's amazing what praising can do! When you're feeling especially sad, fearful, or angry, praise the Lord for a few minutes. It can be really hard to want to praise Him in the midst of a storm, but when you do, the storm around you quiets. I love the promise found in Psalm 22:3-- "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." I love that the King James Version says He inhabits us when we praise Him. The spirit of heaviness lifts when you put on your garment of praise.
My thoughts felt a little jumbled as I wrote this post because it is such a big chunk of scripture, but I hope that you feel encouraged after reading today. I noticed that several of the promises given to us in this passage require something on our end. We aren't just given joy in exchange for our mourning, we have to seek Him! Our spirit of heaviness isn't lifted until we praise Him. "Mourning in Zion" requires a lot of sacrifice at times, but we are so richly rewarded when we place our hope in the Lord.
Past Wednesdays In The Word:
Remember to check out what my friend Anne Marie is doing over at The Loved Bible Project! She wrote this sweet post about Wednesdays In The Word and how we are teaming up! Each week I will continue to post about a scripture that has helped me in my time of loss and Anne Marie is going to make a free printable that you can find in her Resources page! We encourage you to print it out and spend time soaking in God's Word as you decorate it and then include it in your own Bible or start working on a Loved Bible!