To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. – Isaiah 61:3
The above verse has always intrigued me. Exchanging beauty for ashes. Doesn’t that just evoke raw emotion in you? It makes me want to know more…. it makes me want to know why.
This year my One Word the Lord gave me was “Perspective”, and oh I have learned so much through His gentle leading. I was afraid it would be my One Word again this year since I still have so much more to learn, but God blazed into my heart with a new word this week. More about that tomorrow. I digress.
This scripture has come to me again and again as I have pondered “Perspective” this year. Why? Why the beauty after the ashes? Couldn’t we just skip the whole ashes part and go straight to the beauty, Lord? We serve the mighty God, so surely that’s possible.
But God saved the best lesson on perspective for this last week of the year. I finally realized something key, and I just knew I had to share it with you. It kind of blew me away, and really refreshed my… well, perspective.
I was asking the wrong way, see. I was asking, “Lord, could you not make the beauty until you had the ashes?” Seriously. I even researched art made from ashes, trying to find an angle I hadn’t considered before. The Lord was silent. He has such a sense of timing, doesn’t He? Just magical.
Just this week, He whispered to me. I don’t think it was my imagination that made me think there was a bit of a grin as He spoke. And this is what He said:
“Beloved, it is not that I could not make the beauty until I had the ashes. It is rather that the beauty went unnoticed without the contrast of the ashes.”
I know, right?! Blew me away. Clicked everything into place. Changed my perspective.
Sometimes the world has to sorta fold up on you before you can see outside of yourself. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it has to get pitch black for the warmth and light of the candle to really shine. And sometimes, oh sometimes you have to have absolutely nothing left before you can recognize that you have absolutely everything that matters.
Beauty and ashes. Who knew?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for this year of changing perspectives. Thank You for the new outlooks and for sometimes just turning me bodily around and pointing me to the right direction. I can’t wait for the new year of learning to begin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…
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