Joy Instead of Mourning
By Jill Briscoe
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” ~ Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
A certain situation arose in my life that caused me to go to bed in “despair” and to awaken feeling as if I had not slept at all. I can only describe the experience as a “spirit of heaviness.” I walked bowed down under the weight of my problem.
Then I came upon Isaiah 61:3. What a promise! He would give me “a joyous blessing instead of mourning” and “festive praise instead of despair”! But how? A change of attitude was surely necessary, but the heaviness I felt had seemingly robbed me of the strength to even try!
Examining the burden I was carrying, I recognized that I had picked it up and put it on myself. The burden was weighing me down, binding up my movements, making me unable to function, keeping me from reaching out and touching people.
The problem had to do with a fellow Christian – someone I had loved, but now had almost come to hate! Victory gained on my knees would dissipate immediately upon sight of this person! The enemy would come in like a flood and almost drop the burden back on me, weighing me down once again. Praise to God for coming along and trading the burden for a load of joy.
If we will allow God to place on us a load of joy and praise, we will begin to sing again; and others, who are also carrying burdens, will listen to our song!
Lord, sometimes it feels like the cloud over my head will never go away. Help me to let go of the burdens I insist on carrying around with me. You are in control and able to change the things that I cannot. Replace my worries with Your joy, so that my life will reflect Your goodness and be full of songs and praises to You. Amen.