A FRIEND explained not long ago that she didn't mind the frigid February weather that we'd been having but that she dreaded the gray dampness of March and April because it often made her feel moody and depressed. ``I can never seem to dress warmly enough for that weather,'' she said jokingly. I knew she was not alone in such feelings. Still, her mention of the word dress made me think of the Biblical statement from Isaiah ``The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek...to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.''1
Wool and goose down are fine for keeping out the cold of winter and early spring. But in this ``garment of praise,'' doesn't God provide us with sure protection against any onset of heaviness or depression, regardless of the season or the weather?
Praise for God and His saving goodness is recorded throughout the Bible. There were occasions when praise followed the rescue of people from hostile armies, from drought and famine, or from illness and death. But on other occasions, Biblical characters praised God in the midst of difficulty, as when Paul and Silas ``prayed, and sang praises unto God''2 just before the prison cell was opened and their bands unloosed.
How can we praise God in moments when all we can see is gloom? Perhaps the answer to this lies in understanding more deeply the nature of God and His creation, man.
Though it may seem that we are biological beings, influenced primarily by genetics and external material forces, such is not the case. Our true being is infinitely more than it seems to be because it expresses the nature of our creator. Man as God created him is actually the complete, perfect expression of God. God is divine Spirit, as the Bible teaches, so what God creates is spiritual. Man is the spiritual offspring of Spirit. His complete being is governed by Spirit. This is unchanging reality.