Beauty for Ashes

Written by Angie Drummonds

“To grant to those who mourn in Zion--to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” 
--Isaiah 61:3

In the Bible, ashes were a representation of mourning. It was customary for people to sit in ashes and cover themselves in ash to express their grieving. Whether that grief was for the loss of someone, the stress over a hard or difficult situation, or even the grief over their own sins, ashes represented mourning. So in this passage of scripture in Isaiah, we see that, no matter why we may be mourning or grieving, God will replace our grief, or our ashes, with beauty, with gladness, praise, and with a promise. Just as Isaiah was encouraging the Israelites of God’s promise to deliver them and send them Jesus, we too can pull encouragement from this verse to see that God will do the same for us. 

No matter what we face in life, we can be encouraged to know that God walks through those seasons with us. The Bible says the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and that He never leaves us or forsakes us. As we walk through the challenges life sometimes brings, we never walk alone. 

I have heard of so many testimonies where God gave beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and peace in place of chaos. I have experienced that in my own life many times. 

I have seen the goodness of God through some of the darkest moments I have ever experienced. At only 17 years old, I tragically lost my mom to domestic violence after growing up in a home filled with abuse. It was through these seasons of grief that I saw how God can turn the darkest, hardest moments of our lives into beautiful testimonies of His redemption, grace, and love. Even though life was hard and at times felt like there could never be anything good come from the pain of what I was going through, God took what the enemy tried to use to bring destruction, and used it for good. He turned my mourning into gladness and gave me a testimony that I have been able to share with others who are walking through hard seasons in their own lives. 

When we go through hard times, the enemy would love for you to feel alone, hopeless, and discouraged. The Bible says the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy–and that's exactly what he wants to do in the moments that are the hardest. But we also know that Jesus came to give us a more abundant life. When we go through hard seasons, the enemy wants you to forget that God is still there. This is why knowing the word of God is so important. It’s how we truly fight our battles against the lies and schemes of the enemy. 

Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for mourning, and a time for dancing. Which shows us there will be seasons of sorrow and suffering, but those seasons don’t last forever. Weeping lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning. 

God truly gives beauty for the ashes. This is the hope we have that God can take what we see as the most difficult, ugliest moment in life, and bring something amazingly beautiful from it.

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