Stages & Phases, part 4
Continuing the Hardship Phase . . .
Years ago, a Pastor was leading his home group. One night a woman came to visit the group and then continued to attend, which was great. But, this woman was going through a difficult time and not handling it very well. She wanted to use the group time to vent and complain. One night, after she left, some of the other group members complained to Jim about it. Jim sat and pondered for just a moment. Then he said, “You know, God has sent this woman to us. We are going to have to learn to love and help and encourage her. If we don’t do this right, we’re going to get a whole lot more like her because God will know that we need more practice!”
“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, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 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)
So – when we go through adversity, the Lord wants to do these things for us:
- Bind (bandage) our broken hearts
- Set us free from captivity
- Release us from darkness
- Comfort us in our sadness
- Provide for us in our grief
- Give us a crown of beauty
- Give us the oil of gladness
- Give us a garment of praise
- Make us STRONG – “oaks of righteousness” (the oak is no wimpy tree – it is solid, it has permanence)
- Plant us in HIM . . . let your roots go down DEEP and then . . .
- We will display his splendor! Hallelujah – when you see someone who has come through adversity victoriously – doesn’t that display the splendor of God?!!! That’s BEAUTIFUL!