Friday, April 20, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

There is a canal that runs behind the building where I work. It resembles the back of any strip center...bare, block walls, dumpsters, recycling, etc... People use the canal at times for a trash can - a plastic bottle here, a trash bag there, all manner of detritus usually found in such places.

And yet...  The water flowing through the ditch is remarkably clear. You can see the sandy bottom and the water plants waving in the current. near a culvert behind the dumpster, there are thousands of little minnows - new life in the midst of the trash. Along on bank a violet peeks out of the grass, a yellow sulphur butterfly flutters past my face, and a huge, brilliant purple dragonfly hovers over the water. There is beauty even here.

Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."

Is your life a mess? Feel down in the ditch, down in the dumps? Are you poor, brokenhearted, grieving, imprisoned? There is beauty even here. Jesus used the scripture above to describe Himself and what He came to do. He came to set prisoners free and comfort the mourning. He came to take us our of our despair and give us something to sing about.

Pay attention to the blessings in the midst of the trash. Change your focus to look for the spots of color among the gray. Look to Jesus. God will give you beauty for ashes.

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