by Rick Warren — July 6, 2020
“ . . . He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair . . . ”
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
We’re also experiencing grief because of closed schools, canceled proms, and postponed weddings. We’ve been unable to visit family and friends, even when they’ve seriously sick in the hospital. And, heartbreakingly, some of us haven’t been able to mourn the loss of a loved one through a traditional funeral.
Yet, God promises that for all who mourn, “ . . . he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair . . . ” (Isaiah 61:3 NLT).
The greatest example of how God transforms grief into joy is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. After he was crucified, Jesus’ disciples went through two days of the deepest fear, pain, and grief anyone could ever experience. Even though Jesus promised his disciples he would return from the dead, they couldn’t grasp the reality of that through their grief.
But once the disciples saw Jesus resurrected, they understood sin and death had been defeated. They were released from their fears and anxieties. And in that release, they found joy again.
As you hold onto the promises of God through these dark days, you, too, will find release from your fears and anxieties—and you will find joy again.
How can that happen? By relying on the power of God, the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. It can change ashes into beauty, grief into joy, and despair into praise.
The only way for us to get to heaven is by trusting in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:22-24 NLT).
We live in uncertain times, so if you haven’t already, reach out for the one thing that is absolutely certain—the forgiveness and hope found only in Jesus.
If you’re ready to commit your life to him, then pray this prayer:
“Dear Jesus, you have promised that if I believe in you, everything I’ve ever done wrong will be forgiven, I will learn the purpose of my life, and you will accept me into your eternal home in heaven one day.
“I confess my sin, and I believe that you are God, my Savior. I receive you into my life as my Lord. Today, I’m turning over every part of my life to your management. You have the right to call the shots in my life.
“Jesus, I want to relax in your love. Thank you that I don’t have to earn it, deserve it, or work for it. I want to use the rest of my life to serve you instead of serving myself. I humbly commit my life to you, and I ask you to save me and accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”