On this past Sunday, I attended a new church and during worship, the words “up from the ashes” stood out to me. In that moment, I didn’t understand why this particular part stood out to me. Throughout the week those words continued to stay with me. I decided to google the word ash. Merriam-Webster gives one definition that reads “ something that symbolizes grief, repentance or humiliation. The second definition through the google search engine reads “ the remains of something destroyed”. This definition grasped my attention and it is this definition that we will reference throughout this blog.
We all carry or have carried an ash at some point within our life. Some of those ashes we created and others were thrown at us. The beauty within ashes is that not all ashes are negative, not all come from despair and not all require continuous shelving. The world will teach us that ashes have to be from a broken place or thing. The grace of God teaches us that You can come up from the ashes.
Isaiah 61:3 says 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.
What does this PROMISE mean for you. It means that a new start is awaiting your ash. A transformed mindset receives blessings in place of sadness and heartache. It means that no matter what you have done, no matter how far you have strayed, no matter who you hurt or were hurt by, no matter how long you have been living and loving your sin, no matter how much you did/didn’t pray and study, no matter what you said or didn’t say, there is triumph assigned to you. There is favor for you. There is mercy and unconditional, undeserving, unearned grace available to you.
A Crown for your ashes is a written love letter to you. It is God reminding you that He KNEW you before you were born. He knew what you would struggle and succeed in. He knew what you would be tempted with. Because he knows all, He also has given us His Word to aid us within our journey. How beautiful is that. How Faithful is our God.
In 2020, when you begin to feel discouraged, when you begin to believe that you are worthless, when shame oversees grace, when condemnation in given where correction should be displayed, remember the love letter that God has written in His Word for you. There is a crown of beauty for ashes. Give those ashes to God. Leave those cares with Him and be ready to receive his love.