Thursday, March 31, 2016


Did you know that part of Jesus´ sacred mission on earth was to care for the brokenhearted?  Did you know the whole ¨beauty for ashes¨ thing is for real?  There have been days I found it hard to believe  yet I have been struck lately with the prominence of verses given to this subject - particularly in this classic passage of Scripture about the Messiah´s mission:

¨The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me 
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord´s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion -
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.¨ 
Isaiah 61:1-3

I have highlighted the phrases directly related to grief within this sacred mission statement and they are about half!  This part of His healing ministry has great significance (not to take away from the others).  In fact, at the end of vs.3, it says this:

¨They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.¨ 
Isaiah 61:3

The powerful yet tender transformation required to take the ones who are broken and grieving, sad, exhausted, depressed, in darkness, unable to cope or function on certain days, angry, confused, in faith crises, with their whole life on hold and their physical health on edge is absolutely stunning.  The beauty for ashes thing is not a joke.  Nor is it a dream.  But it is impossible -  except for the Redeemer of Grief and Death, the Transformer of ashes and all that is grey.  Only He can turn all that into a beautiful, colored garland to be worn on our head where all can see it.

To take a hurting, brokenhearted person from the ash heap of death and transform them into an ¨oak of righteousness¨ is nothing short of a miracle!  The fact that these people become ¨a planting of the Lord ¨ shows that it is an intimate, personal work done by the Redeemer Himself.  The incredible end result of this redemptive work is ¨the display of His splendor.¨  Wow!  As he is transforming me in my grief process, he is using it as part of his sacred mission in this world to show Himself!  I get to be part of that!

If you are grieving, please know that the Savior is very near and very committed to helping you get to the other side.  He is for you and He shows it in these verses.  For your broken heart, there is a binding up. for your mourning, there is comfort, for your grief, there is provision, for the ashes of death there is a crown of beauty, for your mourning there is an oil of joy and for the spirit of heaviness or despair, there is a garment of praise.  Some days these may seem a million miles away...but they will come.

Beauty does rise and Jesus is on mission to provide for your grief! 

Graphic by distelfliege


  1. Beautiful and powerfully true, Pam! This passage is near and dear to my own heart, first introduced to me as a new miss'y candidate by veteran miss'y, Alice Schaffer. Last week Jim and I were visiting with her at Robin and Teri's. She did not remember "giving" me these verses, but she does still remember the passage! Praying for more of God's redeeming work in my own life! I thank God for your gifted expression with words, Pam!

  2. So very good Pam. Oaks of righteousness are OAKS... they grow slowly, and grow strong, through years of good and bad rains... even drought. Beautiful... and very enduring. May we also be so...

  3. Love this! I think I will write some of these truths on note cards so that I'm not quick to forget!