By Kathi Pelton
“…and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness 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
2020 has been very difficult for many. Though God has come as light in the darkness for those who take refuge in him, it does not change the fact that all of the world, those who fear the Lord and those who do not, have been effected by all that has taken place in 2020.
We have all watched dear friends lose loved ones unexpectedly, lose jobs, lose homes, lose businesses…or maybe it is YOU who have lost one or one of these things this year. There is no shame in grieving. Grief does not reflect your faith or your trust in God. It merely says, “I have loved someone that I can no longer share my life with.” or “I labored for something that I believed in and it is no more.” There is grief that comes with losses and God asks us to grieve with those who grieve. And so we do!
Even as we grieve with those who grieve, it is right to put on “garments of praise” (even in the midst of loss or experiencing compassion on those who have lost). We have all lost something, even if it is just our rights and freedom to interact with friends or to enjoy looking into another’s face to see them smile. Though we have been forced to wear a mask on our physical body that reminds us all of this global pandemic, it is time to purposely and intentionally put on a spiritual garment that is called “praise!”
We have an eternal hope that gives us reason for praise in every season and circumstance. I have had seasons in my life of grief where I praised through the tears and it became of garment of peace in the midst of a storm. Praise became my refuge and fortress that took me above what my eyes could see.
Isaiah 61 goes on to say this,
Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”
Today these words from Isaiah 61 rang like a bell of triumph in my spirit. It was like an announcement from angelic hosts calling us to put on garments of praise because the faithfulness of the Lord is our reward and his everlasting covenant will be made known among the nations!
I had a vision of God’s people putting on the garments of praise and as they did, God supernaturally clothed them with heavenly garments of peace and favor that broke off heaviness and despair. This garment of peace was tangible to the point of giving supernatural strength to those who have grown weary. The garment of favor attracted both heaven and earth; bringing forth prosperity that touched every area imaginable.
It is time to let the words that conclude Isaiah 61 pour out of our mouths like a river of praise,
“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”
Clothe yourself with garments of praise and watch what happens in the days to come!
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Happy New Year!