Precious Ashes

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.”

It’s still smoking all around you, clouding and choking your vision.  The crunching beneath your feet are the remains of what you once had and once held dear; pictures capturing moments that marked the miles you’ve walked, and momentos of a life that made others proud, and still others just a little bit jealous.   When the wind picks up a bit,  pieces of you blow all over, and are lost forever. People are crying nearby, or is that you? You wonder if this is the end…this level of destruction you’ve never even seen before, let alone experienced.  You doubt if you can ever bounce back after this.  Look at this mess!  What would you bounce back to?  It’s all gone!

You are staring at the rubble, and the wind, gently and slowly, starts to clear out the smoke.  Your eyes then focus on one beam in the center of all that is lost.  This one looks nothing like the other burned and charred remains being cleared out of the way.  In fact, this giant, sturdy, thick board looks almost brand-new.  And so, with that one piece of wood, imagine with me the amazing thing just beginning to take form.  It’s bigger than it once was, stronger than it was before.  It’s taller than anything you’ve seen in quite a while.  You can even see some of the colors now!  Deep reds and majestic blues. It is simply….beautiful.  Royal, even.

You can barely  smell the smoke in the air anymore, or see the burned remains of what once was you. You’re realizing it’s really hard to stay sad and to mourn what you’ve lost, in light of what now is yours! 

Maybe you lost what you lost because you lit a match, and maybe it happened….well, just because tragedy never misses a single one of us. But either way, you lost it all…all those precious things, all those things which seemed to make you who you are. 

But if you will look closely at this pain, stare it in the face, and give that pain to Someone who CAN carry all of your rubble and all of your remains.  And you will see the extraordinary beauty that can most definitely become of all those precious ashes!

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