Ashes refer to the adversities in life and beauty refers to how the Lord can turn around those adversities that He may be glorified. The great men and women of faith saw ashes before they saw beauty.
Isaiah prophesied, “To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called tress of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”(Is 61:3)
Look at the people who came to the Lord in tears and see how the Lord wiped their tears. Hannah was in tears. 1 Sam 1:7 says, ‘Hannah wept and did not eat’. That was how much her sorrow of barrenness was. Her rival, Peninnah provoked her all the time. But God came through. He turned her mourning into joy. When little Samuel was born, she started rejoicing in the Lord.
Hezekiah was sick and near death. Isaiah 38:3 says, ‘And Hezekiah wept bitterly. In Is 38: 4, 5 God says, ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears’. God delivered Hezekiah and added fifteen years to his life. Hezekiah’s life was extended.
The Lord who wiped away the tears of Hannah and Hezekiah will do the same thing for you. He is exactly as concerned about you as He was to Hannah and Hezekiah. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If He did it for them, He will do it for you.
The Lord is so good and His mercy endures forever. Just because something bad happened to you does not mean God doesn’t care for you. Our God is preparing the best for each of His children. He always allows His children to face greater battles because He has greater victories planned for them. God’s plan is to give you beauty eventually.
Cling on to the promises of God:
Jer 31:13 says, ‘I will turn their mourning to joy, Will make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord’.
This is the promise the Lord made for His people. Our God is a God of abundance. Some believe that our God is a God of just enough. Some even believe that God wants His children poor so that they do not get into pride. The Bible doesn’t tell us that. The Bible talks about our God giving us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20). The Bible talks about joy. There is fullness of joy in His presence (Ps 16:11). God wants us to be in health (3 John 2). God wants us to be happy, well and joyful. Anything other than that is not true.
Your future does not depend on your past:
You may be someone who had a humble beginning. You may be going through adversity in your life right now. Things may not be the way you wanted them to be. The provision may not be in place. The children may not yet be saved. You may be sick in your body!
Have you seen mourning in your life? Cheer up. Our God will make you rejoice. He will turn around the situation for you in such a manner that you will not have a choice but to rejoice. He promised for the people who do God’s work that He will bless them will abundance. He calls it His goodness.
Do not be surprised if afflictions come your way. That is no strange thing. But the good news is that we have a God who will make us glad for the days we were sad!
Look at Moses. He was a ‘nobody’ when his mother put him is a basket in the river. He had no identity. But he was the one God had already chosen to lead the children of Israel. He saw evil in his days. But he did not stop there. He said in Ps 90:15, ‘Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil’. He began to pray and seek God.
You are already marked for success. You are a chosen generation. I am not saying that. The Bible says that. God wants His children whole. That means nothing lacking in their life, in any way. You may not be there yet, but keep going. Keep on trusting in the Lord and you will see that the Lord will do what he said He will do.
He who promised is faithful:
Is 60:20 says, ‘ … your days of mourning shall be ended. Take this word and stand in faith. Remind the Lord of His promises to you. Tell Him, “Lord, if you said it, you will do it. I am not going to give up”. Soon you will see the deliverance of the Lord coming to you.
The lean days will never be lean days forever. God will put an end for your troubles. We can liken the days of affliction to a woman in labor. As soon as the mother sees her new- born child, all her memory of the labor pain leaves her in a split second. When she beholds her baby, even the memory of her birth pains seem to have vanished. Our day of sorrow is like that too. When we see the Lord coming through, all the days of suffering will be like a passing cloud.
Jer 31:9 says, ‘ They shall come with weeping and with supplications I will lead them, I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters’
Let there be beauty for ashes in our lives in Jesus’ name. Amen.