“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.”
Today, as I read this verse, I was reminded of the amazing love of Christ that is able to restore us to the identity and purpose he created for us.
Ashes in the bible were a sign of deep grief.
We all know that life can be really hard and sometimes we find ourselves in a place where there are such challenges, enough to suck the life right out of you. It’s times like these that we should hang on to God’s promise of bringing out the beauty that is found from this pain and suffering.
Ashes are a symbol of the hardships we face.
Everyone faces some form of hardship, be it loss of a loved one, divorce, abuse, sickness, loss of identity and rejection.
Job, was a righteous man who loved the Lord dearly. He experienced losing everything. It was a dark period in his life and like most of us, he must have wondered if his life would ever be the same again.
Will he be happy again? Will he smile again?
Job was deep in the ashes, Job 2:8
David was there too. He prayed and fasted and did everything he could to save his son.
On the seventh day the baby died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the baby was dead. They said, “Look, we tried to talk to David while the baby was alive, but he refused to listen to us. If we tell him the baby is dead, he may do something awful.” 2 Samuel 12:18
And Daniel, 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 raped and reduced to nothing and abandoned. “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 Samuel 13:19
suddenly I am reminded of the song Amazing Grace as I pen this.
Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home
It was written by a former slave trader called John Newton who was an Anglican priest in England in 1773, apparently written specifically, from a near-death experience he’d had decades earlier, when the slave ship he was on encountered a violent storm, prompting him to convert to Christianity.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES
There is an exchange that took place on Calvary. Jesus felt every pain and suffering as he was nailed to the cross. At that moment, a beautiful exchange took place. Beauty for Ashes.
The Cross and the Blood of Jesus is the powerful exchange for every pain and suffering we encounter. God in his mercy made that exchange for us, so that he could remove the ashes and crown us with his beauty .
Will you laugh again? Yes!
Will you smile again? Yes!
Will you recover from the suffering you have been through? Yes you will.
His beautiful exchange still speaks on our behalf.
Jesus reminded us in John 16:33 that “In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, for I have overcome the world.”
The Power of the Cross, through his pain and suffering has made it possible for us to overcome.
What a beautiful exchange and what a wonderful expression of a loving God! That is the Amazing Grace that John Newton encountered as he faced the most fierce storm at sea.
Grace will find you and lift you out of that mourning, depression, sadness, abuse, and turmoil.
Just call out his name and He will answer. He is our Shalom, nothing missing, nothing broken (peace).
Jesus, save me from these ashes and crown me with your beauty, amen.