The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, August 27, 2022, comes to us from Laverne Williams of Georgia.

1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; 6 but you shall be called priests of the Lord, you shall be named ministers of our God; you shall enjoy the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory.

Isaiah 61:1-6 NRSV



As our bus traveled down the highway on a recent trip to Alaska, we passed a large stretch of land with rows of burned trees. Growing directly in front of these black, scorched trees were several clumps of beautiful light pink flowers. I noticed the same flowers when we hiked up a mountain trail in the damp wilderness. Later our tour guide explained that the flowers were called fireweeds and that they usually grow in places where something catastrophic has occurred, like a fire or even a moving glacier.

In a similar manner, God has a way of responding in areas of our lives where we’ve experienced disaster. Just like the prophet Isaiah says, God can provide beauty in places that once were ashes and cause joy in times of mourning. And as God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (See Daniel 3), God is with us through the fires we face. As we face struggles of every kind, our human limitations may prevent us from seeing through to the other side, where beauty may await us. But God sees it all, is with us through it all, and is able to comfort all who mourn.



May the words of Laverne’s reflection and prayer offer us the assurance of knowing God journeys with us, through our highs and lows, granting us peace in all life’s situations.

--Pastor Anthony


Dear God, thank you for delivering us from our trials Amen.

--Laverne Williams

Prayer Focus:

Those recovering from disasters

Thought for the day:

God can bring beauty from the bleakest situation.