Sunday, January 10, 2010

A planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor

Loved Ones,

For the past few months I've been encouraging a family with cancer. Their tale is similar to ours and it will have a similar ending soon. As they sit at the side of their loved one, however, there is joy, there is peace and above all, there is faith. Something I also have experienced. As I searched for a verse to send them, I found this:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach 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 gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."

Isaiah 61:1-3

Nowhere is this more apparent, than at the bedside of a loved one who is going too soon.

That crown of beauty, that oil of gladness, that garment of praise, that can only come from strength far beyond ourselves.

And it struck me that this is true of us too. That our life this year -- this crown of beauty reclaimed from ashes -- yes, many times in sadness, but always in faith and often with joy -- that this too is a testimony of the strength of our Lord. A planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Though it is not understandable, it can only be true.

These verses and these thoughts, give me comfort. Especially as we near the one year anniversary of Ray's death on January 21.

not alone and not afraid --