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. (Isa. 61:3)
Farmers will sometimes use a method called a “prescribed burn” as a way to clear out plants that are already growing and benefit the crop that is preparing to come in. In a way, it seems like the farmer is destroying what he is trying to grow. However, these controlled burns actually improve the health of the field and give the incoming crop a better chance to thrive.
A few years ago I went through a very difficult season that left me feeling deep disappointment and a sense of failure. In a way it felt like a lot of things had been destroyed. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to recover fully from the pain. Maybe you’ve experienced this in your life as well. Something happens, and it feels like God is allowing things to burn to the ground.
Several months later the Lord led me to his words in Isaiah 61, and I was reminded that the trade-in value in the kingdom of God is priceless. Where we see ashes, God sees beauty. When we mourn, he anoints with joy. Where the spirit of despair threatens to hang heavy, he drapes over us a garment of praise, rendering the enemy defeated. Even though that season of my life was painful, God has used it to bring beauty, joy, praise, and freedom to my life.
Trade your ashes, mourning, and despair for beauty, joy, and praise.
Deborah Rhodes is co-lead pastor of Parkside [Wesleyan] Church in Greenville, South Carolina. She is passionate about studying and teaching God’s Word.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.