Category Archives: Isaiah 61:3

Oil of Joy

What exactly is joy?

I’ve heard it said, “The world didn’t give it to you and the world can’t take it away.”

Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. At least that’s what I read online. Sounds good to me, but I know from experience pleasure and happiness don’t last. Let’s face it, most of us look to others to please us. We look to others to make us happy, just as we look to things to make us happy and bring us pleasure. But if we’re honest, that in itself is fleeting, isn’t it? Before you know it, we’re needing another fix!

So, how is “joy” different?

The Bible teaches that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b); I love that! But can one experience joy while going through everyday life with its many toils, twists and turns? To be honest, during times of trauma, the thought of joy escapes me. I mean, I am not necessarily thinking about joy during these times.

So when I read my bible and reminded that the joy of the Lord is my strength, this is what it means to me: It’s a joy unspeakable and full of glory!

I may not be able to explain it, put my finger on it, or even see it. But I know it’s there – I know it in my knower. (Bear with me please, I’m fully aware this isn’t “correct” English.) But I just know that I know. It’s not an “in your face” kind of thing. It’s not necessarily a giddiness. It’s not even a denial of difficulties. For me it’s a reassurance that everything is going to be all right. I may not understand some things, even while having a meltdown, feel sad or grieving.

The pain is real. The battle is real. But so is the joy real. This joy is an indescribable knowing that come hell or high water, I am safe and secure in my Heavenly Father’s arms (just like when I was a child in my earthly daddy’s arms). Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, here is where there’s strength and comfort. This joy floods the heart, it brings an inner peace and strength even though everything else around may be chaotic.

I didn’t always know this or believe this way. But through my experiences, I’ve learned some things. Life happens. Happiness is fleeting. Pleasure is temporary. But the joy of the Lord is constant regardless of circumstances and situations.

Joy is the best makeup – Anne Lamott

Excuse me while I put some makeup on.

Have you experienced this joy?

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Filed under Devotional, Isaiah 61:3

Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

“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 61:3
(Photo Credit: forashes.org)

My devotions today is found in Isaiah 61:3. Although this passage of scripture brings me comfort, I wondered …

How can there be a smidgen of beauty amongst rubble? Or ashes?

How is this even possible?

How do we see beauty in the midst of suffering, hopelessness, or despair?

When I saw my baby sister lying in her small white coffin, I didn’t see beauty.

When I noticed my mama with bruises on her body, I failed to see the beauty in that.

My former husband known for his strength, vigor and being sure-footed, morphed into a sloppy drunk after one drink of alcohol was miles away from anything charming.

To see my grandpa become a prisoner in his own body, his barrel-chested physic becoming sunken and scrawny was a far cry from beauty.

For my eyes to caress my grandma’s features, once so robust and plump, turning thin and frail after having lost so much weight due to illness wasn’t lovely.

Watching the back of my former husband after he pulled the rug from under my feet, and left me in the dust while calling out his name wasn’t a picturesque scene.

My 29-day old granddaughter swollen from fluids in a medically induced coma after her open-heart surgery wasn’t attractive to me.

Scars are not beautiful. Neither are bruises on the body or on the heart.

Death is not beautiful; the grieving of loved ones taken from you is never beautiful. Hunger is not beautiful. Loneliness is not beautiful.

Repossession isn’t quaint. Foreclosure is eons away from being delightful.

So how can there be beauty for ashes?

I believe it is found in hope. Hope against hope. Hope that the imperfect will become perfect. Hope that the pain will cease. Hope that there will be a day of reckoning. Hope that the scattered pieces will rebuild. Hope for healing and relief. Hope that the light will dawn and a new day will come. Hope that this too, shall come to pass. Hope in heaven. Hope that the best is yet to come. And most importantly, believing in the Blessed Hope that one day, we shall see our loved ones again who have crossed over.

Thank you, Lord, for turning my life’s ugliness into a thing of beauty.

Out of sadness and hurt, will come strength and victory.

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July 23, 2015 · 10:39 PM