Isaiah 61 is a familiar chapter to most believers. I’ve heard it preached many times. Maybe you have too. So when the Lord led me there for 2016… again, it felt a bit cliche. But God’s Word is fresh and alive and though I’ve heard the verse He placed on my heart dozens of times, the words are becoming alive once again.
“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall posses a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” Isaiah 61:7 (ESV)
“…Yet you suffered doubly and live in disgrace: So double will be your share, and with joy everlasting.” (The Voice)
The words from The Voice translation, “yet you suffered doubly”, make sense to me. In May 2015, we suffered the loss of our son. He was just 20 weeks in the womb and, for reasons we don’t know, he went to be with Jesus before he took a breath on our planet. Maybe you suffered in 2015 too. Maybe it didn’t take on the form of loss of life, but loss and suffering come in many different forms. Maybe a big change happened and you lost some of the familiar of your life. Maybe you suffered physical and health problems. Maybe you suffered in a relationship.
So, perhaps you’re like me and would welcome a double portion of rejoicing in 2016. If so, this is a promise that we all can take hold of. For me, I don’t know what form that portion will take – I believe I’ve seen some of that with the release of my first book just a few weeks ago – but I believe there is more in store in 2016.
As I look again, I am struck by the phrase, “instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot”. We definitely did not rejoice in the ‘lot’ of losing our son. There were other times throughout 2015, we were not rejoicing over our lot. But the promise of “rejoicing in my lot” in 2016 brings beautiful hope for the new year. If this rings true in your heart, grab hold of this promise as well.
Lastly, let’s look at the phrase “everlasting joy”. We all know that joy is not just about being happy. I could find joy even in the suffering of last year. Because joy is found in Jesus, we can find it even in our troubles. But, as I look ahead to 2016 and the promise of Isaiah 61:7, a joy everlasting combined with a double portion sounds like a beautiful thing.
So, for me, for you, let’s hold tight to God’s promises this year. For me, that includes Isaiah 61:7!