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The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday, May 1, 2024, was written by Valerie Ronald of Manitoba, Canada.



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


Author's Thoughts

Following a fierce summer storm, my husband and I went outside to see an uprooted tree stretched across our yard. As we cleaned up the broken branches littering our lawn, I mourned the loss of the tree. On summer days we had rested under it shade, listening to the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the singing of birds in its branches. Now all that remained was an ugly stump. However, my husband took a more pragmatic view, realizing the tree's absence allowed more sunlight to reach his vegetable garden. The plants would flourish with more sunlight to strengthen them.

Losing a tree cannot compare to losing someone or something precious, but it provides a picture of how God can turn loss into abundance. Amid the pain of significant losses in my life, God filled up the emptiness with an abundance of love. God gave me beauty and joy in spite of my loss and morning, and praising God lightened the heaviness. Where a tree once stood, now light floods our garden. Likewise, our scars of loss do not need to remain places of pain and darkness. Rather, they can be markers of where God met us and brought new light to our lives.


Pastor Anthony's Thoughts


I invite you reread Valerie's reflection, challenging yourself to see God in everything you do today.


Author's Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for comforting us when we are brokenhearted. When we mourn, you offer beauty, joy, and praise to fill us up. Amen.


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