Isaiah 61: 1 - 4
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. (ESV)
I was going to use only a portion of the above scripture, but I just couldn't seem to slice any of it away. Liberty for captives; comfort for those who mourn; rebuilding of devastated ruins... This month's theme contains such powerful truth - that out of the ashes, God can make something beautiful.
The Biblical metaphors are abundant: Gold can only be refined by fire. A seed must die in order to grow into a new plant. Only through death are we ushered into heaven. It's a well known principle and one of the greatest paradoxes we can imagine. God uses darkness to emphasize the light.
No one is exempt. Each one of us has our own burdens to bear, but I can honestly say that in retrospect I have grown spiritually and emotionally through each one. While not necessarily grateful for the trial itself, I am thankful for the resulting growth. Each has given me tangible evidence of God's amazing love and care. This has spilled over into my writing life, as well. The pain of years of rejection gave me fortitude to persevere, taught me about owning my own voice as an author, and helped me embrace the call to write that God has placed on my life - despite the hardships.
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