Out of the Ashes
Beauty they say is in the eyes of the beholder. What may be beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to another person. Our idea or view about beauty is usually expressed in the things we cherish, the things we value, the things that give us joy. A person, place, animal, movie, dress style, decoration, book or situation can be described as beautiful, it depends on who is talking. A book lover and collector is likely to use the word beautiful to describe a book she found captivating and inspiring. Travel lovers use beautiful when they talk about places they have visited that have lovely scenery, good food and warm people. While for someone that loves colours and fashion, beautiful is the word she uses to describe a fabric or style that complements her complexion and physique. You will hear a car lover use beautiful to describe the latest car model that fascinates him. A guy who is about to get married would describe his fiancé as beautiful even if other people don’t see her in that way. Someone who waited for 5 or 10 years before she had children would say God did something awesome and beautiful in my life when talking about her journey to motherhood.
It follows then that if any of the things we love, consider valuable and important are not in our lives or are adversely affected, we feel like something beautiful has been taken away from us or is missing in our lives, we feel like we are in a mess or an ugly situation. This was exactly how Hannah felt when she didn’t have any child to call her on. For days she would cry her eyes out, have no appetite for food, and get into bad moods that were ruining her relationship with her husband. When her husband couldn’t take it anymore, he had to ask, ‘Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons’ (1 Samuel 1:8)? Her ugly situation was made worse by the cruel and nasty way her rival used to rub it into her face that she was barren and was just wasting her time, if she thought going to God could change her situation (1 Samuel 1: 7). Hannah’s story is living proof of the fact that no matter how bad or ugly your situation, God can bring you out.
In Isaiah 61:3, God tells us that He will give us beauty for ashes. This means that when God steps into a situation, He can bring something beautiful out of a horrible or ugly situation. For everyone who is going through a tough and rough time, everyone going through an ugly, distressing or hopeless situation in your health, marriage, career, business, finances, with your children or even relationship with God, know that God can bring something beautiful out of all that the chaos and confusion in our lives, if we look to the Lord not on the ashes; not on the problems around us. Nothing anyone said to Hannah shifted her focus from God. Her rival called her names, yes she cried about it, but it didn’t stop her from going back to God in prayer. Eli the priest sized her up as a drunken woman, she didn’t allow that get her bitter and distracted, she still went to God in prayer (1 Samuel 1:12-18). Hannah didn’t allow being knocked down and put down by people keep her away from God. She didn’t allow the hurt and pain in her heart keep her away from God. The God she kept coming to in prayer, gave her beauty for ashes. He gave her a beautiful testimony to compensate her for all the delay, loss and hardship she had experienced over the years (1 Samuel 1:20, 1 Samuel 2:21). God brought Hannah out of the ash heap of barrenness, stagnation, shame and reproach.
God’s Word to you today is that He will give you beauty for ashes. He will step in and turn that ugly situation around. He will bring you out of the ashes if you don’t allow anything and anyone keep you away from Him. There will be beauty for ashes; beautiful roses from the thorns of affliction you have been through, joy to replace long nights of weeping, great testimonies that will be birthed from all our pains and trials. All this will happen if God isn’t taken out of the picture; God isn’t taken out of your life and situation.
Get ready for something beautiful!
PHOTO CREDIT: Glodi Miessi