The Spirit of God...is on me because God has anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, Announce freedom to all captives....to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn...(to) give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness" planted by God to display his glory. Isaiah 61
A few years back I took a large team of high school teenagers to serve the underprivileged in Washington D.C.. We were assigned to serve a small church who was actively involved in outreach to their community. One of the assignments we were given was to sweep and clean their parking lot. I had not envisioned holding a broom on this project, but rather the hearts of those I had traveled to serve. I , being the leader, however, knew the importance of setting a good example. So, with a broom and a song in heart, I began supervising and sweeping. The parking lot was littered with dirt, trash, and odd items that would make anyone scratch their heads. We wore gloves, because we knew the danger of coming across a used needle. After a couple of hours of this tedious chore, I glanced over and noticed an empty beer bottle we had overlooked. It was then that I understood the essence of what God wanted me to comprehend. Hopelessness. I began to wonder what broken dreams, shattered hopes, and sightless soul had dampened their painful existence through the blur of alcohol. What little child, full of hopes and dreams, had grown up to lose sight of how "fearfully and wonderfully" they had been made? One lonely beer bottle reminded me why I must wear the fragrance of those languishing lest I forget the meaning of Isaiah 61. Christ came to set the captive soul free. He came to restore broken hearts and shattered dreams and replace them with "bouquets of roses". Christ, the King, who reminds us that in Him there is joy and a heart that is set free to offer praise in place of singing a dirge. Today, we have hope, and "hope does not disappoint" (Romans 5:5). We are a people of promise. A promise that our sins have been pardoned and our lives will stand strong like an oak. Yes, everyday we can walk in hope even if the "cloud" in our life threatens to send an "emotional storm". If Christ calmed the raging storm for His beloved follower Peter, than He can do that for us. The challenge, today, is to walk in Hope. To believe that there is "nothing or no one that can thwart the plans God has for you" (emphasis mine). To know that when the king of the universe sets you free, that you are free indeed. Now, today, walk in hope.
Today, Lord, infuse me with the power of Hope. Remind me that I am never without the freeing power of Hope. I know that you came to set my imprisoned soul free and to replace my sorrow and pain with joy and roses. I accept this promise, and Walk In Hope. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.