It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. Did you ever have a season of life that was so miserable that there was little good to say about it?
I’ve had a few trials like that. Certainly my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma comes to mind. Sure, good things happened out of it, but during it there were some miserable moments. As bad news piled up, I was completely out of control, depressed and oppressed.
Fortunately, we have a God who traffics in the impossible. In Isaiah 61, Jesus announced His intent for making the impossible possible. And this in the worst of times – trading mourning for gladness. Mourning is grieving over the loss of things we will never get back in this life. Things such as time, opportunities, and of course people. Yet Jesus said He came…
To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. – Isaiah 61:3
Some questions jump out at me about Jesus’ end goal here. How could we possibly have a mantle of praise in the midst of mourning? Or gladness? Why garlands of victory and celebration (like a Hawaiian lei)?
Well, it must be a supernatural thing. You see under God’s New Covenant, He provides HIS coping powers to us. Tools which transcend our very normal human responses. So now, anything is possible, including gladness in the midst of difficult situations! Consider these benefits found in Christ:
*Joy which cannot even be described in human words, but experiencing it is wonderful!
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. – 1 Peter 1:8
*Peace which is actually God’s own peace and He seems pretty relaxed!
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
*Love which the brain cannot understand, but it sure fills up the heart!
That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 1:18-19
*Power which can literally move mountains of fear, anxiety and self-pity!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. – Ephesians 1:20
With these supernatural tools from the indwelling Christ, mourning does not have to take over our lives. In fact we can face the hardest of times with hope and freedom. He reigns!