Good News! In Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV), the prophet proclaims “the year of the Lord’s favor”, and shares that God sent him to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives…and to provide for those who grieve in Zion by bestowing 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.”
Any life well-lived accumulates ashes. Mourning is a natural result of the losses of life. And despair happens.
God longs to bestow His kingdom riches upon us through His grace alone. All we have to do is come humbly before His throne, offer up the ashes of our lives, and allow Him to place His crown of beauty upon our heads. I love the powerful imagery of putting on a garment of praise and throwing off a spirit of despair. I love hearing that my heavenly Father calls me to soak in the oil of joy, and to let go of mourning.
Ask God to reveal the ashes in your life that He longs to transform into a crown of beauty. Let Him show you the areas in your life where you might be clinging to a spirit of despair instead of reaching up to Him, and accepting His garment of praise. God wants to turn your mourning into joy, to richly bless you as you come to Him, and to display His splendor through your life.