Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Heart of Christmas: Comfort for the Mourners

If you've ever experienced the death of a friend, a loved one, or even a relationship, you know something about grief. It's often accompanied by hurt, sorrow, tears, and a sense that you just can't go on (spirit of fainting). 

There's the sense that your heart is broken and it will never be healed again. Not so, Scripture tells us.

It takes time to heal from a loss. Grief can't be cured instantly, and you can't wish it away.

Isaiah said the Messiah would comfort those who mourn. 

Instead of ashes tossed one the head as a symbol of mourning, He would bring a garland. It's not a garland of flowers, of course. The hope of eternity, knowing we'll see those we love again one day, becomes a garland of hope. It surrounds us and comforts us in our sorrow.

Instead of the spirit of fainting, that sense that we can't go another step, He gives a mantle of praise. This is a vital point in the grief process, and one we can't give ourselves. 

God takes our despair and replaces it with a mantle, a covering, of praise. He helps us to praise Him in the hardest, darkest times of our lives and, in the praising, it helps lift our spirits.

Like with any mantle, or cloak, someone else may help us into it, but we must choose to wear it. So it is with the mantle of praise. God will help us, but we must choose to continue.

The mantle of praise is available for all those who mourn, if we are willing to wear it.

No matter the cause or depth of our sorrow, when we choose praise, we show the world that our Savior still lives and heals the most broken of hearts.

There's an even better benefit of wearing the mantle of praise, however. It doesn't just make us feel better. It helps us develop deep roots so that we become oaks of righteousness and glorify our God.

For those of us who are grieving today, let's ask God for a mantle of praise and a willingness to wear it. Let's lift our heads, raise our hands, and praise God for all the blessings He's bestowed. It's not easy, but it does make a difference.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me... to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." Isaiah  61:1-3 nasb 
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday' post: The Captives in the Church and the One Who Came to Set Them Free
If God leads you to help support this ministry, (prayer and outreach, both digital and in-person) you can use this link: Support Leanna's Ministry (use account #4841) or send check to Global Outreach Int'l, PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to include #4841 in the "for" line. 
#comfort #advent