“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3 KJV
In my economic class, there are two terms that I teach. Those terms are trade-offs and opportunity cost. Trade-offs occurs when you make a decision. This is when you choose one thing over another or when you sacrifice one thing in order to obtain another. Trade-offs create opportunity costs. Opportunity costs are those things that you give up when you make one decision over another or simply put, the thing you did not choose.
If I may, let me offer you a transparent moment. To say that this has been a rough week would be an extreme understatement. My aunt passed away last Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer. This is the second child that my grandmother has had to bury (my father being the first). So I’ve been extremely concerned about her. My aunt has a 19 year old daughter who is a sophomore at WSSU. This story is all too familiar to me. Since I have been down this road before, my family felt that I was most suitable to deal with all things concerning my little cousin. However, one thing that I think they fell to realize is that in helping her through this, I had to go back to a place that I really don’t like visiting. This week I’ve experienced some feelings and emotions that literally shook me at my core. At times I felt like I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I couldn’t focus. And I truth be told, I felt like a break down was nearing.
So here I was, standing face to face with some major trade-offs! There were some decisions that I had to make for the sake of my own peace and my sanity. Just when I thought I’d had all I could take, the word came to my rescue. The Lord laid this particular scripture on my heart. In the scripture the word says “to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. The word “for” in this context represents some form of exchange, meaning in order to get something; you have to give something up.
So as the Lord continued to deal with me, it became clear that if I wanted the beauty, I had to make a decision to exchange my ashes. If I was going to receive the oil of joy, I had to give up the mourning that was trying to overtake me. If I was going to be adorned with the garment of praise, I had to offer God the spirit of heaviness that had almost become unbearable. I couldn’t receive what God was trying to offer me if I didn’t first let go of something that I was holding on to. So in making those trade-offs, it cost me the opportunity to be in turmoil. It cost me the opportunity to give up. It cost me the opportunity to stop fighting.
So how does this apply to you? The same way I had to let some things go so that I would be able to get what God was trying to give me, you do to. Do a brief survey of your life. If it’s peace that you need, you have to give him your troubles. If it’s healing you need, you have to give Him your infirmities. If it’s faith you need, you have to give Him your doubts. If it’s joy that you need, you have to give Him your sadness. If it’s courage that you need, you have to give Him your fears.
We can’t carry our burdens and the burdens that God has desire for us to have at the same time. We have to trade off with Him. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. God is trying to offer us His light burden, but it can only be transferred when we give Him ours. So the same way I had to give my “stuff” to God (my cousin, my Granny, my family, my heaviness), I think you should too! Stop trying to handle something that you aren’t equip to handle. If you could handle it all by yourself, what purpose would God serve? I promise you He will carry your heavy burdens, but only if you trade-off with Him. So this week make a decision to trade your “stuff” with God so that He can release Himself to you.