Dear Precious Friends,
On this beautiful new day, I love sharing what I need to hear. I love the phrase Beauty from Ashes. We are reminded over and over again of how God brings beauty from ashes.
The scripture comes from Isaiah 61:3
"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; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3 KJV
Throughout the Bible , ashes have often been the symbol of deep repentance and grief.
And we ourselves have personally experienced different seasons where sometimes it hurts. Like this past year of such difficulty with Covid, isolation, fear, political unrest, society unrest and so much more.
Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s dark. And it leaves its mark, like ashes of grief, in the deepest parts of our souls, where no one but God can really see.
So how many of you know what I'm talking about.
Where you have no words, just a lump in your throat, a feeling of deep deep pain and shock, disbelief, where you don't know if you can even get out of bed....
Yes, I know this all too well ...
You may understand if you've ever felt these ashes:
You’ve ever lost a loved one or had to say good-bye too soon, left to journey through dark days of grief, wondering if you’d ever be able to carry on without them at your side…
You’ve ever received a hard diagnosis, faced the fear of the unknown, and felt the effects of disease and pain...
You’ve ever set at the bedside of a dying friend, and held a hand that once was strong, whose life had been cut short from the ravages of cancer…
You’ve ever been to a funeral for a sweet baby, or a precious child, and watched endless tears flow from hurting souls of a Mama and Daddy….
You’ve ever been deeply wounded, betrayed, abused, or mistreated…
You've ever walked through the fire of hard situations and wondered if you'd come out the other side...
Yes, it’s true, life is not always "happy". It’s not always easy. It deals harshly sometimes, it seems unfair, and we may wonder where God is, or why He didn’t stop that difficult event or illness from happening.
I have certainly been in this place.... have you?
Let's look at others who walked through unbelievable pain and sorrow from God's absolute truth:
Job was there too. This righteous man who loved and honored God. Yet he lost everything. It crumbled around him, all he held dear. And he knew without God, he was nothing. And we find him in the beginning of the book of Job, “…he sat in the ashes.” Job 2:8
Daniel was there. He and the people had suffered under captivity, he prayed to God on behalf of his people, that God would have mercy. He repented, and confessed his own sin, his deep need for Him. He knew where true strength and help came from, “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3
Tamar was there. She had trusted and yet was betrayed. David’s own daughter had been taken advantage of, raped, and she was left on her own, alone, with no hope for her future, to pick up the broken pieces of shattered life. “And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.” 2 Sam. 13:19
And they may have wondered too...
Where was God in it all? Where is He now? Deep grief, crime, captivity, illness, death of loved ones, shattered hope, and broken dreams?
So we ask... what does beauty for ashes really mean?
His Truth says this: He was there. In the midst of it all.
And though we may not always see it, or feel it, or even understand it, we can know beyond a doubt, that He is now. Still. He is with us.
"To provide for those who grieve...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes." Isaiah 61:3
For He will never leave us or forsake us, His love for us in greater than we could ever imagine, though we live in a world where we face trouble many days.
Jesus reminds us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, for I have overcome the world.”
And that’s the key to the ashes that cover our days in this life. The deeper Truth that shines through every bit of our grief, and pain, and sin, is this, Christ came to set us free. Christ came to redeem. Christ came to bring hope. Christ came to bring beauty from ashes.
There’s beauty and greatness behind every mark of darkness. The ashes will fall away, they don’t stay forever, but His greatness and glory shine forever through every broken place and flaw we’ve struggled through.
He conquered death. He lives forever. He reigns in glory. And we have victory in Him.
Take courage dear friends who are facing deep battles. He is greater than any enemy we face in this life. We overcome because He has overcome and our lives are hidden in Christ. May God cover you with peace, may He bring healing in the face of hard news, may He bring deep, abiding joy that makes no sense to the world, may He bring comfort and care as He wraps you in His arms. The God of miracles fights for you today, and He is Mighty.
There's still beauty ahead...straight out of ashes. Christ redeems.
AMEN AND AMEN!!!!