The Favorable Year

I began the new year with great hope. A new day, a new year. New and unlimited possibilities! Change was coming, and I knew it. I felt excited.


But just a few weeks into 2010, I stopped feeling excited. Instead, I began to feel discouraged. And I’m not the only one. Several people I know have experienced a depression that set in as the month advanced. And that’s what I began to feel too—a melancholy pressure stifling hope and stealing the day-to-day joys of life.


Maybe it’s because there have been more clouds so far this year than sun. Maybe it’s the post-holiday winter blues that a lot of people experience. Or maybe it’s spiritual warfare. Whatever the cause, I knew that the answer was found in the Lord.


The other night I went for a run, partly because it had warmed up and wasn’t quite dark yet, and partly because I knew that exercise, besides being my regular habit, is a good way to combat depression. As I ran, I began to get angry. I asked myself why I had allowed depression to take what it already had from me, why I hadn’t fought it harder.


I thought of Isaiah’s words about exchanging the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise. The phrase is in Isaiah 61, which talks about the work of the Spirit in the favorable year of the Lord. Jesus later proclaimed that the favorable year had come with Him (Luke 4:17-20).


So I began to praise Him. I spoke aloud from the Psalms, then, while I waited for the light to turn at the corner, sang quietly under my breath.


I believe something broke in that act of faith. The Lord reminded me of specific Scriptures and ways in which He had worked. There was no reason for me to doubt that He wasn’t going to finish the work He had started. Hope began to replace the sadness.


The Spirit of Jesus is alive and well in us, His Church, today, this month, this year. His favor is on us. It is His power that sets us free from bondage, fear, depression and doubt. It is His praise that removes these shackles and paves the way for the work He’s getting ready to do. Hope in Him is more than worth fighting for. It’s a matter of our spiritual—and sometimes physical—life or death.



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