God spoke to me today…audibly.
The message was on Isaiah 61, a proclamation of the Lord’s Favor.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has annointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, the 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, who 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 garmet of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks origheousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
I thought of MD, who shared her story of abuse and forced sexual labor by her parents. Her courage and survival serve as an inspiration, but she’s much much more than her story. Her pursuit of justice and self-empowerment point to Christ’s saving and redeeming power. As Jesus was annointed to be who Isaiah 61 describes, so have we been annointed to bring the good news to those around us because of our mourning, spirit of despair, brokenheartedness, poverty, and our own story of devastation.
The pastor called us to pray for the person next to us. In the embrace of a woman I’ve never met, I felt compelled to pray for her freedom as she uttered words in a different language. I had a sense that she was alone in her faith. I praised God for her boldness to believe in what she did despite potential persecution. I looked around. I was surrounded by other presumably single people; people sat in every other seat or walked in alone. There were 1 or 2 couples, no babies, no children. I wondered how many of you in this room also did not have someone to come to church with? I sensed a hunger for truth that was transparent. People came as they were, not in the way they were expected to.
No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.
One day, the walls that bound MD to her small room will no longer confine her. Can you imagine the freedom to enjoy the presence of the Lord without the boundaries of society and sin? Barriers will be removed, and we will see that all we need is Christ. Do we live in a way that leads to eternal significance? Or are we comfortably living somewhere between heaven and hell, enslaved in the pursuit of truth but not choosing to see it because it means we must change and respond?
As I walked hand in hand with P, after filling out a restraint order against her pimp, she asked me to pray. At that moment, I saw the change to bride from brothel…we are made holy and cleansed by the washing with water through the word, and presented to Christ as radiant without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Be encouraged. Know you’re not alone, and that He is making you into a radiant bride all over again and for eternity…