Beauty for Ashes

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I have chosen scripture from Isaiah as my second memory verse for Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team.  I will only be memorizing verse three, but here is the verse from the beginning:
1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
      Because the LORD has anointed Me
      To preach good tidings to the poor;
      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
      To proclaim liberty to the captives,
      And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
       2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
      And the day of vengeance of our God;
      To comfort all who mourn,
       3 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 trees of righteousness,
      The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
I lost my dad in a plane crash about ten years ago.  Shortly after that, my grandfather died in a tornado.  I went through a period of grief and struggled in many ways on how to deal with such loss.  I felt at many times hopeless and worthless and could not grasp any understanding of who God was.  I just did not understand why such horrific things happened.  A few years after the plane crash, someone introduced me to this scripture.  When I read "the oil of joy for mourning" I was deeply perplexed.  What in the world could that mean and how was I even suppossed to begin to feel any type of joy when such things were taken away from me? 

Then another year later or so, I came across this poem...

Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after suffering, crown after cross.
Sweet after bitter, song after sigh,
Home after wandering, praise after cry.
Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain.
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.
Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb.
After long agony, rapture of bliss!
Right was the pathway leading to this!
By Francis Ridley Havergal

After diving back into God's word, I came to the understand that the scripture from Isaiah is a prophecy concerning the coming of Christ.  When you read the verse from the point of view of Christ...  you can start to understand that in MY weakness, He makes me strong.  That when we turn to Christ in our time of turmoil, when we feel like everything around us has turned to ash - what He did for us on the cross trades that ugliness for beauty. 


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