The Holy Spirit heals the wounded child inside us
Jesus made a startling statement that “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” God is not asking us to become childish in our thinking or behaviour. Rather, He is showing us that in order to enjoy all of God’s kingdom blessings, our faith has to be child-like in the way we trust and follow our Heavenly Father. But when we have been shamed, abused, abandoned, neglected, frightened or beaten down as children and had our spirits crushed, it can be hard to ever feel safe going back to being child-like again. Most of us have spent years striving to grow up quickly in order to escape the stresses of feeling as vulnerable as we did back then. Thankfully, God in His mercy, sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts. He will begin the work of comforting and reviving our crushed spirits — if we are willing.
(See Chinese versions: 简体中文 > 圣灵医治我们内在小孩的创伤 | 繁體中文 > 聖靈醫治我們內在小孩的創傷)
Matthew 18:1-3 ESV At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV Blessed be the God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
God’s restoration, however, calls for humility. We often associate humility with pride, when being humble very much involves us putting down our fears and letting go of our self-will. In this case, it involves us putting down our fear of revisiting painful childhood experiences.
In order for the Holy Spirit to revive our spirits to full vitality, we need to approach God with contrite hearts and invite Him to shine His Light into the areas of our hearts that we locked away in darkness.
Isaiah 57:15 ESV For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
God has given each of us an ageless spirit
When God breathed life into us when we were still inside our mother’s womb, our spirit came alive even before all our physical organs had been formed. As He gave us our spirit, God knitted our DNA together and determined the days of our lives.
Genesis 2:7 ESV then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
James 2:26 ESV For as the body apart from the spirit is dead…
Psalm 139:13-16 ESV For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
The human spirit is timeless. In fact, God’s Word tells us that our bodies may be fading day by day, our spirits are being renewed every day. The human spirit cannot age like the human body does, but it can be crushed, burdened, and wounded by sorrow and heartache.
2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
Proverbs 15:13 ESV A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Our physical bodies may heal with the help of physical medicine, but our crushed spirits cannot be healed by human means alone. It is God, who is Spirit and who gave us our spirits, who heals our spirits. He is an Expert in delivering us from our sorrows and saving the crushed in spirit.
Proverbs 18:13-14 ESV If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
John 4:24 ESV God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Psalm 34:18 ESV The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Ezekiel 36:26 ESV And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
We receive God’s Spirit when we confess and repent of our sins, and are baptised in Jesus’ name. The Holy Spirit will then begin a healing and restoration work in our hearts and free us from slavery to our fears, even the fear looking back at our past. If we are wiling to cooperate with God’s work in our hearts, He will exchange our crushed spirit with a spirit that is filled with His power, love, and self-control. This is one of the many Kingdom blessings God has in store for us.
Romans 8:14-16 ESV For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The 2 ways our spirits are crushed
The human spirit can be crushed in two ways.
- Things that happened to us | Our parents’ divorce, major accidents, public shaming. family bankruptcy, unfair punishment, sexual abuse, war, separation from family, the loss of a favourite toy etc.
- Things that should have happened but did not | Absence of guardians when we needed them, blocked from play and self-discovery, lack of acceptance, protection from grievous harm, insufficient clothing etc.
James 4:17 ESV So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Both types of woundings are traumatic because they leave painful emotional imprints, which often result in a form of grief or sorrow.
The second type of wounding, which entails unfufilled legitimate needs may be less frequently discussed because we often feel that due to our circumstances, we were left with no other choice. We may even have been programmed to think that it was all done for our good! If we even start to think otherwise, we may feel guilty for “betraying” and disrespecting those who took care of us.
Yet even if our child-like minds may have tried to understand adult circumstances at the time, our child-like hearts would have struggled to cope with our long-term deprivations. Our spirits would have been left starving.
One common example is if parents work long hours to make money for the household. They were hardly at home and regularly came back too exhausted or agitated to spend much meaningful time with us — to validate our existence, value, and worth. Perhaps they placed us in the care of helpers or grandparents. Even though we might have understood our parents’ reasons for “outsourcing” our care to others, there is still the likelihood that in our spirits, we would have felt that we were not important enough for them to care for personally. It could still have felt like a form of abandonment.
Or perhaps the things that we enjoyed, loved, or needed are taken away from us by force or without consultation. Or maybe we were expected to perform to certain standards that were set for us by our family. We never felt safe to relax and just be ourselves. This slowly evolves into a sense of shame over our true selves and possibly, self-rejection. Or perhaps we felt responsible for carrying our parents’ emotional burdens; a job far too heavy for any child to take on.
One other way to look at how children’s spirits can be made heartsick is to examine whether they got to enjoy the simple joys and wonder of childhood and allowed to be children.
In other words, were we free to:
- Play and explore our expanding world safely?
- Laugh, be “silly” and just act our age?
- Make mistakes and fail?
- Learn at our personal pace and on our own terms?
- Express our fears, frustrations, and anger?
- Cry without being stopped or scolded?
- Live without fear, shame, pain, chaos, abuse, or guilt?
- Receive gentle correction and guidance?
- Explore the person God created us to be?
- Receive love without the pressure to show that we deserved it?
- Be cherished for who we are without the pressure to hide certain parts of ourselves?
Prolonged childhood frustrations and unfulfilled needs can build up as a deep inner sorrow, which sometimes explodes with anger, rebellious behaviour, depression, and suicidal thoughts. If left unaddressed, the weight of holding in such grief without acknowledgement, comfort, or relief for years will eventually crush anyone’s spirit, no matter how strong we believe ourselves to be. We cannot deny the very nature and needs of our spirit.
Proverbs 15:13 ESV A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
It does not leave us with a firm foundation to build an abundant life through Jesus. Whatever is built on top of a crushed spirit will be easily shaken.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Signs of a crushed spirit that is crying out for the Holy Spirit’s healing
Suppressing, denying, hiding, or running away from our unconfessed childhood sorrows does not lead to freedom. In fact, just the opposite happens. We remain trapped.
It is when we allow the Holy Spirit to reach into the deepest recesses of our broken hearts to revive our crushed spirits that we can truly be strengthen and receive God’s joy.
John 16:24 ESV Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Some possible signs of a crushed spirit that is crying out for God’s healing include:
- Rest | Our hearts feel restless | Ecclesiastes 2:23 ESV For all his days are full of sorrow… Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
- Sleep | We don’t sleep deeply or we suffer from insomnia | Daniel 2:1 ESV In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.
- Dreams | We have disturbing dreams that trouble us | Daniel 2:1,3 ESV In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”
- Work | At the core of it, work feels joyless, a vexation | Ecclesiastes 2:23 ESV For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation…
- Struggle to feel God’s love | The most devastating sign could be that we don’t feel that God’s love has been poured into our hearts, because our resident sorrows take precedence and dominate | Romans 5:5 ESV and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
God instructs us to pour out our sorrows
All of us, young or old, are made in God’s image and likeness. God expresses His emotions and thoughts, and so should we. This ability is what makes us human. (In fact, even animals have some ability to express fear, pain, agitation, aggression, and empathy.)
Genesis 1:26-27 ESV Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Our grievances do not go away when we push them down inside. We need to pour out our hearts to our perfect Refuge, God Almighty, so that our spirits can be cleansed and purified to join with His Spirit.
Psalm 62:7-8 ESV On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
2 Timothy 2:21 ESV Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
Romans 8:16 NLT For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
The Bible has many examples of people who poured everything out before God, both men and women. For instance, David poured out his complaints to God and told Him all his troubles. Peter wept bitterly when he realised that he had betrayed Jesus. Hannah expressed her great anxiety and vexation at being bullied at home and being childless. As we know, God responded to all of them and restored them afterwards.
Psalm 142:1-3 With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!
Matthew 26:75 ESV And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
1 Samuel 1:6,9-10,15-18 ESV And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb… Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly… But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Misconceptions about confessing our childhood sorrows
There are many worldly ways of thinking that keep us from confessing our childhood sorrows to God.
1. “Talking and ‘crying over split milk’ doesn’t change anything.”
Truth: Talking to people may not change things but confessing to God will. He is the God of all comfort who is able to revive our spirits. | 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2. “I want to just move on.”
Truth: We can move on but we won’t prosper spiritually as God intends if our spirits remain crushed. | Proverbs 18:14 ESV A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
3. “Talking about my childhood dishonours our parents.”
Truth: God already knows what our parents have done to us or have not done for us. It will not surprise Him. Our confessions are about how we felt, whether others hurt us intentionally or not. It is not about judging, condemning, or disrespecting our parents. In fact, not confessing our sorrows dishonours the Holy Spirit when we don’t allow Him to restore our crushed spirits to fullness. We indirectly tell God that our human parents are more important to us than our relationship with Him. | Psalm 51:10-12 ESV Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
4. “I have buried the past. I never want to go back in time.”
Truth: God is timeless. The Holy Spirit sees our sorrows as if it happened just yesterday. God does not look at time in a linear way like mere human beings do. Our unresolved childhood wounds are just as real and alive today as they were years or decades ago. | 2 Peter 3:8 ESV But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
5. “Those who hurt me have died. There’s no point talking about them.”
Truth: They may have died but our sorrows have not. God invites us to draw close to Him so that He can heal our broken hearts and save our crushed spirits. | Psalm 34:18 ESV The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
6. “I have spent my life covering my past. I can’t betray my efforts.”
Truth: God does not want us to lie or to live a lie. We may be ashamed or angry about our past, but with God, we can proudly put on our new self that is renewed after Jesus’ image. We do not have to be defined by the image of our past. God wants to set us free to live the abundant life that He has in store for us. | Colossians 3:9-10 ESV Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
7. “I have become successful. My past didn’t hold me back.”
Truth: Our own efforts may have gotten us far in the world but the question is, do our lives demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Have we nailed the passions and desires of our sinful nature to the cross? Those who belong to Christ will crucify their childhood sorrows to the cross and be set free to follow their Heavenly Father with great rejoicing. | Galatians 5:22-24 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
8. “My parents provided everything materially. There is nothing to grieve over.”
Truth: Material provisions provide for the body but not necessarily for the spirit. For example, we can suffer deeply when people use cutting words that crush us. These wounds may not be visible but they are real nonetheless. | Proverbs 12:18 ESV There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
9. “I vowed I would never forgive them. Confessing means I need to forgive.”
Truth: Holding on to our bitterness and un-forgiveness will not make us righteous. In fact, it does the opposite. We sin against God because we disdain His forgiveness which He has freely extended towards us even before we knew how to ask for it. Until we confess and forsake our bitter grievances, we will “not prosper”. We will only “fall into calamity.” | Proverbs 28:13-14 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into
10. “I don’t believe in God’s desire or power to heal me.”
Truth: Perhaps the most fundamental reason we resist confessing our grievances before God is because we don’t trust Him to care enough to help us. For example, we may
- be angry with Him and think He must be angry with us too
- feel unworthy of His attention
- subconsciously blame Him for our suffering
- feel guilty about our sins
- think He has given up on us
- hate God as we hate our parents
No matter how we feel, it does not change that God is faithful to us even when we are faithless towards Him. Praise God that He always responses to the cries of His children for help when we seek Him with all our heart. God promises that He will restore our inner beings to fullness with His love.
Jeremiah 29:13 ESV You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Ephesians 3:16-19 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Let us remember that:
- God hears all our cries | Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
- He is close to us in our pain | Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
- He will never forsake us | John 14:18 ESV “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
- He remembers our pain and tears | Psalm 56:8 ESV You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
- He will manifest Himself to us when we follow His commandments | John 14:21 ESV Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
- He will console our souls | Psalm 94:18-19 ESV When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
- He will heal our emotional wounds | Psalm 147:3 ESV He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
- He will meet our needs | Isaiah 41:17 ESV When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
- He will go before us and guide us | Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
How amazing it is to have a Heavenly Father who is all these things, and more! Even the strongest people have emotional vulnerabilities that need God’s loving restoration. King David was known for his mighty conquests at war. He is also the one who wrote some of the most heart-wrenching Psalms where he cried out to God, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes” (Psalm 6:6-7). No one on earth has escaped some form of disappointment, shame, rejection or humiliation – not King David and not even Jesus Himself.
Jesus allowed Himself to suffer great indignities so that we know that He understands our pain. Isaiah 53 describes how terribly low our Saviour was brought so that He would suffer and die for all our sins, and how God restored Him afterward. Sadly, many of us struggle to believe that God wants to and will heal our emotional wounds and restore us. No one can stand in the way of the restoration that God has in store for us – unless that person is ourselves.
Romans 8:31 ESV What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
We often make the mistake of thinking that God must behave just like us, when the truth is, we need to be transformed to be more like Jesus. | 2 Timothy 2:13 ESV if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
Confessing our childhood sorrows
We fall under a curse when we continue to cope with our children sorrows using our own fleshly strength because the real king of our hearts is not God but ourselves. Whether we realise it or not, all the inner whisperings, anxieties, and subconscious unfulfilled needs from our childhood will continue to drive our adult thoughts and choices. All this works on a subconscious level.
Jeremiah 17:5 ESV Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
1 Corinthians 14:20 ESV Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
God’s original design for families is that parents teach children God’s truths. When children follow God, they will mature in every way and enjoy great peace. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we need to allow Him to re-tutor us in everything we have learnt since childhood. It is one reason He calls us to become like children again in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
Isaiah 54:13-15 ESV All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me…
The Bible gives us a beautiful illustration of what it is like to experience more and more of the Kingdom of God. As we allow the Holy Spirit into our hearts, He will guide us to springs of living water to cleanse, quench and refresh our spirits and wipe every tear from our eyes.
Revelation 7:15-17 ESV “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The Holy Spirit is patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and very self-controlled. He will not lead us to confess things when we are not ready nor will He demand us to change immediately. He recognises all our wounds and will lead us according to our needs and timing.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
All we need to do is to arrange a time of confession together with a Spirit-filled believer who will love, honour, and respect us and who will not use their human standards on us.
Then we can simply say this prayer with them as our witness and friend:
“Holy Spirit, today I give You permission to bring out the truth from my heart, mind, and spirit. Help me to confess all my hidden sorrows from childhood and pour out my un-cried tears to You. I give You permission to access all the areas of my heart that I have locked away and have been too afraid to re-visit on my own. Thank you for being patient with me and faithful to me. I confess I have resisted coming to You and I am nervous about what will happen next. Thank you that You know my needs better than I do. Like a child, I will put my full trust in Your love, Your comfort, Your wisdom, Your teaching, and Your schedule. I choose humility over self-protection and self-justification. I knowledge that these are works of my flesh. You are my good and faithful Shepherd. Also, please show me the sinful ways I have responded that have also grieved You and defiled and corrupted my spirit, so that I can repent, renounce, forgive and bless. Please come and save my crushed spirit and set me free to experience your abundant love, joy, peace, and life. I humbly ask all this in Jesus’ name, amen.”
We can trust that God is faithful, and He will surely comfort us, forgive us, and revive our spirits when we pour out our hearts to Him. We may find ourselves grieving with loud heaving sobs as torrents of pain that we have long pushed down now come to the surface. The greater the force we had used to suppress our true feelings, the stronger our reactions may sometimes be. This is normal and there is nothing to be afraid of. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring up memory after memory and sit with Him for as long as He guides us, so that we can grieve over all our untold pain with our Saviour and allow Him to restore us. God wants to set our spirits free from slavery to childhood sorrows and exchange our grief with His joy.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Galatians 5:1 ESV For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Our almighty God has promised all who mourn that “He will give us a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” He will transform us from feeling like broken weeds to “be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” As we pour out our grief to God, we will find that we feel lighter, refreshed, relieved, more clear-headed, and even a little more compassionate towards those who have hurt us, because the Holy Spirit now has more room in our hearts to do His transformative work. It is an important step forward that we take in our life-long journey with our faithful God towards greater freedom, victory, love, joy, and peace. Also, see Welcome the Holy Spirit’s transformative work in us.
Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
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