“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. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 NIV
A Deeper Kind of Grief
The words kept playing over again in my mind. What do they mean for me and for you?
I have heard many say lately, "I am just so sad. I am tired of being sad."
No cliches or positive affirmations or even promises to pray can lift this burden, this spirit of heaviness that has settled like a cold, damp fog over their hearts and minds.
When a spirit of heaviness comes upon us, we feel alone and isolated. This is between us and God. We have wandered into unchartered territory and this different kind of grief is our only companion.
Here a path is set before us. One path will take us deeper into our grief, to a place where we hear only the gentle whispers of our Savior speaking promises that He will be with us ever step. And while it seems this pain will never end, His glory will be revealed to us in the ashes of this brokenness we call our lives.
The other path promises quick relief. It is the path of distraction. It demands that we feel only peace and happiness at all times. It is a place of light and life, and we find ourselves there when we fill our every moment with restless activity that guarantees a temporary feeling of satisfaction. This path causes us to run, to flee, to refuse to feel.
The other path causes us to press in. Press into the presence of our Lord, lay hold of His very garment, and grasp onto His every word as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.
Here is where we find our true Source of joy. As we press into our pain, our questions, and our fears that this will never end, we find the Lord pouring His oil of joy over our deepest grief, our darkest mourning. Because in His presence is fullness of joy.
Here He anoints us with joy. He exchanges beauty for ashes and clothes us with garments of praise. This deeper grief has the power to destroy us, but even more so, it has the power to transform us.
With grief comes the collateral beauty of life within the loss. In our deepest loss, we are brought face to face with the beauty of intimacy with our Lord. Jesus beckons us to come and find comfort and healing.
"Come to Me, my daughter. Do not turn and run. Do not busy yourself with distractions. Quiet your heart. Press into Me. Beauty and joy await you in My presence."