Monday, May 24, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Gratitude

A Grateful Heart
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, 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.” –Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

A few weeks ago we went to see the local high school’s spring musical. This was the first live production we’ve attended since February 2020 and it was everything I wanted it to be: energetic, fun, funny. It was a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, hum-under-your-breath good time. We saw many people we knew and chatted with friends we hadn’t seen in more than a year. I was grateful to be there.

But the greatest wave of intense, almost overwhelming gratitude came to me at the strangest time that evening. When I left the theatre at intermission and stood in line—a relatively long line—for the ladies’ room, I was overcome. It felt so normal! I have stood in a lot of lines at concerts, conventions, supermarkets, or movies, but never have I ever thought it was a blessing in disguise. Usually it’s just a nuisance. But the normality of waiting in a long line with so many strangers was a beautiful thing and I admit that I breathed a prayer of gratitude.

I love it when a circumstance that could be a source of grumbling and complaint suddenly becomes something different. A change in perspective can take the mundane and possibly annoying and turn it into a holy moment. I believe shifts like those are the Spirit’s way of reminding us that He has always been in the business of turning ashes into “a crown of beauty.”

These verses in Isaiah were the prophet’s words to Israel at a time of exile, judgement and hardship. But these are verses of hope, letting the people know that God would not only bring them through their circumstances, He would ultimately bless them in ways they wouldn’t imagine.

Their ashes would not only be removed from their foreheads but He would put a crown in their place.

Their mourning would not just be over, but they would be given a “joyous blessing” instead.

Their despair would not just be gone, they would break out into “festive praise.”

Aren’t those wonderful promises? Our world has been through a lot over the last year and we might feel tempted to lose hope. But don’t. God sees us. Jesus knows us. We’ve been given the Spirit as the ultimate Comforter and He wants us to take advantage of it. Run to Him and He will give you the comfort, strength, peace, protection, and help that you need.

Let’s allow Him to walk us through these hard times, but never forget the last part of those verses: the Lord plants us as oaks “for His own glory.” He blesses us for His own glory. He deserves all of the “festive praise” for whatever blessings He gives us.

Especially the blessings that come when we least expect them.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank you so much for those quiet moments where You show up in unexpected ways. Thank you for blessings and promises we can hold onto on hard days and the ability to share those blessings with others. Allow us to be used by You every day. You deserve all praise and honor and glory always. In Jesus’s precious name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Glynis Becker writes devotions and inspirational fiction, hoping someday to have a published novel on her resume. 

She has co-written several screenplays, including the film Sinking Sand, available on DVD and digital streaming. 

Glynis, whose childhood was spent all over the country as an Air Force brat, has called South Dakota home for many years, along with her husband and two teenage children.

When she’s not writing or reading, she is watching more television than she should and crocheting. 

You can find her at

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