“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 possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.”
Earlier this morning my mind was drawn back to the shame of certain points in my past. Sometimes when those thoughts are triggered, they become difficult to shake off and move past…because I so badly want to fix it, to change it, but I can’t.
Knowing this, my God, in His grace and wisdom, determined that I would read this verse in Isaiah 61. I pray that as I write, He will continue to unfold what He wants me to see—and that He will speak to your heart as well to meet you wherever you are.
In Isaiah 53:4-5, speaking of the Messiah, the prophet writes, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace; and with his stripes we are healed.” Jesus accomplished so much for us on the cross. Bearing our griefs. Carrying our sorrows. Wounded and crushed for our sins. Bringing us peace and healing. How often do we continue walking in the burdens our Savior came to bear? Choosing to walk in shame, when Jesus died to bring us peace as He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness?
Is it fear? Is it a sense of justice, a feeling that we got off too easy? Whatever the case…is our Lord honored and glorified when we wallow in the guilt of choices we can’t take back? Our past is our past. We can’t erase it. But what we can do is entrust it to the One who redeems us, the One who knows every detail and who has chosen to love and keep us every moment forever. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11-12). The cross on which Jesus died holds the power of Almighty God—power to forgive us of all our sins, power to cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness, and power to take away our shame in exchange for everlasting joy in the inheritance of the glory of God.
In Isaiah 54:4-5, we are given a picture of our life when we are trusting in the grace, power, and redemption of our God: “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”
I’m also reminded of Isaiah 62:2, “The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.” When our God forgives us, He doesn’t just sweep our wrongs under the rug and then send us on our way. He covers us in the righteousness of Christ and He begins to work in our heart to perfect us, to present us before the presence of His glory with great joy (Jude 1:24). He delights in us. Not because we have a flawless past, but because He exalts Himself in showing us mercy (Isaiah 30:18), and because His power is so immeasurably great within us that He will display righteousness and glory through us before all the nations. And we will not be called by any name that others give us, nor will we be called by a name we give ourselves—we will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. The One who loves us. The One who purchased us with His blood. The One who makes all things new.
So today, let us—each of us—walk in the hope of our inheritance with Christ, knowing that our identity is found in Him. Let us fix our eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith, rejoicing in what He has done for us and in what the Holy Spirit is continuing to do within us as He renews us each day. For our “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7). Our shame has been covered. Our guilt has been removed. Justice was served on the cross. If God has forgiven us, we must forgive ourselves and trust Him enough to walk in the freedom and everlasting joy that He offers.
“Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!”