Beauty for Ashes
This devotional was written by Mariah Mayer
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed. They will revive them, though they have been empty for many generations. Isaiah 61:3-4
In Isaiah 61, we come face-to-face with broken people: Individuals who have experienced all their hopes, dreams and desires turning into nothing but dead ashes. Mourning has reached every area of their lives, and despair has kept them from moving forward. Sooner or later, each one of us experiences the pain of loss, the death of dreams, and the disabling feeling called “despair.” For the Israelites, there would come a time when there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and all hope seemed but a memory, until they would recall God’s good news He had given them years earlier through the prophet Isaiah. His good news was, and still is, that He wants to take ashes, mourning and despair and in turn, replace them with beauty, joy and praise.
In order for God to make you into a “strong and graceful oak” that will be used to rebuild and repair others, you must first give God your broken places. Hand over your hurts, disappointments, regrets, failures, depression, sadness and pain. Ask Him to remove from you anything that is blocking His beauty, joy and praise from infiltrating your life. Allow His Spirit to repair and restore you. This process may sound like a few simple steps, but for many, the areas of brokenness in our lives are deeply embedded, so giving them over to God (one at a time) will become your new journey! But take heart! God will use your broken places as a means for Him to work in your life and those around you.
In 2 Corinthians 1:4, the Apostle Paul writes that God comforts us so that we might in turn be able to comfort others with the same comfort we received from Him. You may not see any reason for the suffering you are presently experiencing, but I must assure you, God never wastes suffering. If you are willing, He will use each and every last drop of your pain, sweat and tears, and turn them into refreshing springs for those around you!
If you are in a time of trial, mourning or pain, God has a purpose behind it even though you might not understand it. He desires to use what you are going through to bring Him glory and to help the people around you. Give Him your ashes, mourning and despair and watch Him turn them miraculously in beauty, joy and praise.
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1. How does Isaiah 61:3-4 give you hope?
2. When we suffer, what does God desire to do with our suffering? (See 2 Corinthians 1:4 and James 1:2-4.)
Isaiah 61; 2 Corinthians 1
This devotional © Mariah Mayer, 2007. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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