The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion - to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Isaiah 61:1-4 (NRSV)
Rosalind Smith is from Cluj, Romania. On a particularly beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon, she was lying on a grassy hillside not far from where she lived. The sun was warm, and fluffy white clouds floated in a bright blue sky.
It had been an extraordinarily hard 18 months, and Rosalind was feeling battered in body, mind, and spirit. In particular, it had been many months since she had been able to walk more than a few yards without becoming exhausted. She was weary and discouraged. She longed for resurrection - for the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to fill her so that she could walk, run, and explore God's creation more fully. But that felt like a far-off dream.
Then in the warm April sunshine, Rosalind sensed God telling her that this dream could become reality. At first she dismissed it as a wishful thinking. However, as joy in the day's beauty welled up inside her, so did hope. She couldn't resist getting up on her feet to see how far she could go.
Thus began a healing process that continues to this day. Mourning turned to joy, and discouragement turned to praise. Weakness slowly turned to strength. Her hope and faith were renewed as she began to experience God's resurrecting power in a new way.
Prayer: Resurrecting God, you are the source of all life and goodness. Thank you for bringing us new joy and hope through your resurrecting love, in Jesus' name. Amen.