When I first heard that God gives us beauty for ashes, I thought about what that meant for me. I lived for a long time in the middle of the ashes of the memories from the past. I was buried in those ashes and I couldn’t shake them off. It was as if the dust from the old days had settled on my mind and I couldn’t get rid of it. I was haunted by a past that was not desirable. I tried to dust off the bad memories and the pain but I couldn’t find a duster that was powerful enough until the Lord presented Himself as the ultimate duster. He showed up and removed all the pain that was gluing me to the difficult times from the past. It was as if I had my mind washed away by the purity of the Lord. He didn’t erase the memories but He displaced the pain that was attached to them. He carried the pain and sent it back to the cross where it had died before. The ashes from the past had no right to stay. His love and His power replaced the ashes with beauty. I had been seeing the ugly face of the past and then the Lord helped me see His beauty, the beauty of the present. God can do that for anyone. He can give us beauty for ashes. There is an amazing beauty that lies under the pain and the grief. Your pain and your sorrow can’t last when you confront them with the beauty of the Lord. Don’t settle for the ashes. Don’t embrace the pain from the past. Move on and get to the beauty that is available to you thanks to the Lord.
Living in the past and sitting on the bench of memories while the present is passing by is not how the Lord wants us to spend our days. We can’t escape the past. It happened. It took place but it doesn’t have to follow us into the present. I know how deep pain can cover our hearts and stall them keeping them from receiving today’s peace. There is peace for you and me today and Jesus is giving it out free of charge. It is up for grabs and it won’t go away. However, if we stay in the past and we don’t give God’s peace a chance, the past is what we will know in the present and it will prevent peace from entering our lives. The past holds bags of ashes over us. Ashes represent grief and repentance. It is easy to get into a cycle of endless repentance where we feel that repentance is not enough. I do repent every day and I know I am heard but there was a time when I would repent over and over again for things that were forgiven. What is the point of repenting time and time again for things we have renounced and things that the Lord has forgiven? The enemy will tell us that we are not forgiven. Those ashes blow guilt into our lives and show us a side of God that doesn’t exist. God is smiling at you and me today, welcoming us and forgiving us. That is a beautiful reality that we should live by.
The Lord is faithful and He keeps His promises. The beauty He gives us is the total opposite of the ashes of the past. Your grief is going to turn into joy. He is going to give you the oil of joy for mourning. This sorrow and the sadness that have crippled your heart are not going to stay. Thanks for the Lord that He is giving you beauty for ashes. You are going to emerge and stand in the power of His joy. The Lord also gives the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. That heavy past is not going to weigh much once the power of praise breaks all bondages. Sing praises today and see how the heaviness goes away. The beauty of the Lord is going to make you glow and your heart is going to be at peace again. Don’t give up. Stay strong. God is going to give you beauty for ashes. He is good all the time. Stay encouraged!
Suggested reading: Isaiah 61:3; John 16:33; James 1:2-3