To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory. – Isaiah 61:3
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 expe-rience 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 “joy instead of mourning” and “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 recog-nized 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!
For Further Study: Isaiah 61:1-11
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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