Inexplicable heaviness. It’s covering our country. It’s palpable in our churches. It nags at you in the dark as you try to sleep. It presses in as you think about the future.
We’re hard pressed to find any area of life that isn’t affected by the heaviness of today’s cultural, spiritual and political issues. At times it’s like a trap: every decision laden with implications that we feel highly responsible for their outcomes.
The heaviness doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. And honestly, life was complicated and twisty before 2020. But the issues have been heaped upon us this year.
Isaiah 61 is a powerful and beautiful piece of scripture. It’s a prophetic word that Jesus later affirms was written about Himself in Luke 4. You can read it here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+61&version=ASV
The words that hit me today:
“to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”
Isaiah 61:3 ASV
This is a great exchange. Jesus said it was the reason He was sent...to give us beauty for ashes. To lavish us with joy for our mourning. And to cloak our whole selves with a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness.
Can you imagine if Target ran an exchange program like this? Bring in your old, broken stuff and we’ll exchange it. Not only for a better, new thing - but we’ll customize your new thing to be exactly what you need. There would be a line out the door of people wanting to drop off their moldy Keurigs and 10 year old bedsheets for something better.
All analogies break down when it comes to the miracle of Jesus’ grace towards us - but my encouragement today is to take your heaviness IN. You can’t get an exchange with Christ if you won’t show up with your brokenness. You can’t cling to the weight of today’s issues and even the hope of their resolution MORE than you cling to the promises of God.
Some versions call our heaviness ‘a spirit of fainting.’ And if 2020 were a race, there is no finish line in sight. Presidents are no finish line. Racial reconciliation doesn’t wave the checkered flag. Virus vaccinations won’t provide lasting joy and praise. Whatever you think you’re waiting for; whatever you think will happen that will give you peace; it’s not going to happen outside of the exchange that Jesus provides.
My prayer for us today is that we “take it in” and ask God for an exchange. The problems won’t disappear, but He’ll cover us today in a new mercy and perspective.
PS: you’ll have to take it in again….tomorrow.