“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT)
Shortly after beginning His public ministry, Jesus went to the Synagogue in Nazareth, His boyhood home, and was handed the scroll of Isaiah the prophet. After reading the above words from Isaiah 61, He rolled up the scroll and announced to those present: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Several things were accomplished in that reading, much of which escapes us, as it did those who were in His original audience.
What things? He essentially announced He was the Messiah, God’s Chosen One, the fulfillment of ancient prophecy that was referenced to identify the coming of God in human form. Jesus was saying in essence: “I am the long-awaited One who will do and say things never seen or heard before. I’m here to declare that the time of God’s intervention in the affairs of man in a very personal way has come and I am His agent to carry them out among you.”
There was a lot of suffering among the Jewish people when Jesus came. They were subject to Roman rule, oppressed by high taxes and literally held captive on many levels. In many ways it was very similar to Isaiah’s audience when the words were first given. But what do these ancients words have to say to us today?
“Help in Darkness” “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com”
Are you brokenhearted? Being held captive by your life-draining addiction? Needing release from the darkness of your soul that has imprisoned you? Is your faith crippled by the sinful desires that torment you day and night? Are you feeling helpless and hopeless? You may not believe me, but you’re actually in a very good position to experience the miracle of new life and hope in my Savior and best Friend, the Lord Jesus.
If you go back to Isaiah 61 and read the rest of the chapter you’ll see that in the vision God gave Isaiah of the coming Messiah, He (Jesus) will transform the turbulence of your life and turn you into a powerful display, not only of what knowing Jesus can do to change your life, but to enable you to become a living, breathing illustration of what yielding your life and allegiance to Jesus can look like.
God wants to use your present “turbulence” to enable you to become, in Isaiah’s words: “a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” God’s desire is to turn you from wallowing in self-pity and spiritual worthlessness to a warrior dedicated to His honor and fame. Or in the words of Ron Hutchcraft: “He wants to use the turbulence to give you such a beautiful relationship with Him that you will be a stage to show His glory. Ultimately, the Bible says, ‘you will be named ministers of our God.’ That means you’ll be equipped by the hard times to be a powerful instrument of God in other hurting lives.”
The trials and troubles of our lives are never meant to hurt or disqualify us from God’s service; but rather, to equip and enable us to be more than we ever dared dream we could be. As I look at my life and the lives of many others, whatever measure of effectiveness God has given us has grown out of difficult circumstances in which we felt worthless and ruined for anything useful in God’s Kingdom. But by His grace and with His cleansing forgiveness, He’s lifted us up to greater heights of usefulness and purpose than we ever dared dream possible.
You may feel hopeless to make much needed change, but with His help you CAN! Trust Him! Whatever is holding you back, give it to Jesus, your Sovereign Lord, and allow Him to turn your turbulence into transformational triumph to His honor and fame.
Blessings, Ed 😊