“Put on garments of praise for a spirit of heaviness.”
Part of Jesus’ mission on earth was “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV).
With such instability in our world at present, many people struggle with a feeling of heaviness and sadness. Often our prayers begin with “I feel … .” Fill in the blank – it may be confused, lonely, discouraged!
Someone once suggested: “Don’t start with ‘I feel’; start with ‘You are.’ ”
Often the root of our tumultuous feelings is that we forget who God is and our choice of sin is usually anxiety – a failure to remember that God is sovereign and that He is good. If we pray and say, “You are a good and all-powerful Father,” we are simply reminded that He is just and that He does provide for our every need. So what then do we have to be anxious about?
In David’s much-loved Psalm he said, “The Lord is my shepherd; …” a declaration of who God is. “I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). This should be our response to this character trait of God.
It is when we take our eyes off ourselves and take a deep look at the eternal, unchanging One that we find our problems and feelings will lose their significance in light of all He is.
Lord, You are great – David asked, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8).
Lord, you are gentle and humble – Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29 NKJV).
Lord, you are near the brokenhearted – David tells us, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Lord, you are tender – “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth” (Isaiah 42:2, 3 NIV).
The praise goes on and on. The Lord is our Provider, our Healer, our Righteous Judge, our Loving Bridegroom, our Creator.
So whatever trouble you are facing—look up! The great galaxy-creating God is merciful and gracious, He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Tell the great I AM who He is and remind your own fragile soul in the process.
Make this a constant discipline: whenever you feel overburdened and discouraged, set your heart to adore God. You will find that burdens lift. He has exchanged the spirit of heaviness for garments of praise. And we can be sure that one day, wearing those very garments, we will dance for joy in the presence of our Savior.
Father, You are our God. Without You we are nothing and nothing else matters, but with You we have hope, we have a purpose, and we have a future. Take control of everything in our lives that Your will be done because we trust You. Amen.