“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
(Photo Credit: forashes.org)
My devotions today is found in Isaiah 61:3. Although this passage of scripture brings me comfort, I wondered …
How can there be a smidgen of beauty amongst rubble? Or ashes?
How is this even possible?
How do we see beauty in the midst of suffering, hopelessness, or despair?
When I saw my baby sister lying in her small white coffin, I sure didn’t see any beauty in that.
When I noticed my mama with bruises on her body, I failed to see the beauty.
My former husband known for his strength, vigor and being sure-footed, morphed into a sloppy drunk after one drink of alcohol being miles away from anything charming.
To see my grandpa become a prisoner in his own body, his barrel-chested physic becoming sunken and scrawny was a far cry from beauty.
For my eyes to caress my grandma’s features, once so robust and plump, turning thin and frail after having lost so much weight due to illness wasn’t lovely to behold.
Watching the back of my former husband after he pulled the rug from under my feet, and left me in the dust while I choked in my sobs and called out his name wasn’t a picturesque scene.
My 29-day old granddaughter swollen from fluids in a medically induced coma after her open-heart surgery wasn’t eye-appealing to me.
Scars are not beautiful. Neither are the hidden bruises on the body or on the heart.
Death is not beautiful; the grieving of loved ones taken from you is never beautiful. Hunger is not beautiful. Loneliness is not beautiful.
Repossession isn’t quaint. Foreclosure is eons away from being delightful.
So how can there be beauty for ashes?
I believe it is found in hope. Hope against hope. Hope that the imperfect will become perfect. Hope that the pain will cease. Hope that there will be a day of reckoning. Hope that the scattered pieces will rebuild. Hope for healing and relief. Hope that the light will dawn and a new day will come. Hope that this too, shall come to pass. Hope in heaven. Hope that the best is yet to come. And most importantly, believing in the Blessed Hope that one day, we shall see our loved ones again who have crossed over.
I can yell it now from the mountain top: Thank you, Lord, for turning my life’s ugliness into a thing of beauty!
Out of sadness and hurt, will come strength and victory.