Beauty for Ashes


Our LORD has promised to turn dark experiences into a place of beauty. “Beauty for ashes” is his biblical promise. (Isaiah 61:3) Another translation promises “a garland instead of ashes”.

Ashes are all that’s left after a fire has gone out. Just as the warmth the fire once gave is only a memory, so it can be with our caregiving. Warmth has turned to burnout. What used to give our days purpose and meaning is reduced to the cold ashes of duty and responsibility.

Take heart! Times of burnout are never the last word. The end of our human resources are the beginning of our LORD’s provision and renewal. Let your weary heart hear his strong promise of “beauty for ashes”, or “a garland instead of ashes.”

Today we recognize winners with manufactured things: ribbons, plaques and trophies. But in the prophet’s day winners were honored with a garland woven together out of flowers and leaves. GOD promises us something fresh and living.  Something of beauty. And there is still one more difference in GOD’s promise. His  garland is not in recognition of human accomplishment. It is his gracious gift to those who know the “ashes” of relying on human strength…and draw upon the beauty, warmth and purpose that only he can give.

Prayer – LORD, help me to serve today with your freshness and beauty. Amen

Photo courtesy of Ken Jones, copyright 2016

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