Beauty for Ashes
Perseverance in suffering is one of the themes that God has given us. In Isaiah 61 the prophet says: “THE Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 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.”
1 Peter 5:6-8 says: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
When we write a letter to God and then allow God to answer us back, men often think the letter back from God will be about reproof, chastisement and correction. However, God knows that what we really need is his grace. Men are intimidated about writing down God’s response because they think it will be their own words, not God’s. However, when our loving Heavenly Father deals with his sons, he loves to comfort those who mourn. We suffer pain, disappointment and mourning in this world. Why wouldn’t our Heavenly Father want to comfort us in our mourning? God is a God of grace and mercy…. Love is the very nature of God himself.
When God responds with a letter back to us, we will understand that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. God is a God of grace, mercy and peace. As David said in his prayer of repentance, “blot out my transgressions. Create in me a new heart O Lord.”
God delights in healing the broken hearted….when we come to him with a broken and a contrite heart. He loves to bless us and to heal us. In the midst of loss and mourning, we need to run TO him, not FROM him. As a repentant prodigal son, he will embrace us in his arms.
In Lee Strobel’s testimony “A Case for Christ,” what changed Lee’s mind about Christianity was the change in his wife’s life. He began to understand the meaning of grace. If the good shepherd is pursuing us, we might as well give up and stop resisting him. He’s the “hound of heaven” that will never stop until we give up and give in to him.
In Psalm 51, David approached his Lord with a repentant and changed heart. I Peter 5 continues, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” We’re called within the body of Christ to build up and to lift up one another with the love of God. He has called each of us to abide with him and within him. Collectively we can comfort one another with the love wherewith he has loved us.
In Isaiah 61, God has called his Son Jesus Christ to heal the broken hearted. When we were in the world, we had our hearts set on an expectations that were shattered. He came to “lead captivity captive.” … To set us free from the fears and doubts that captivate our minds. Jesus Christ himself is the message of the Word of God. He is the way the truth and the life. He is the meaning of the Word. When we abide in Christ, he is the one who covers us with his grace, mercy, and peace.
Suzan was an example of grace. She learned grace from her Heavenly Father to hold up the standard of her Lord Jesus Christ. She showered this grace on her husband Pete who needed it every day. She took to heart the verse that says, “wives submit your selves to your husbands.” When Suzan’s dear friend looked through her bible, she had written that verse on a yellow note card from the amplified bible. There were several words in that verse that meant “submit.” She realized that if she were submissive to her husband even though he was “blowing it big-time” then God would bless her for upholding His word.
When we live in the drudgery of life, we need to learn to live out our faith as “oaks of righteousness.” Isaiah 61 continues: he will give us “beauty for ashes.” Pete recently received a call from San Pedro that his wife’s ashes were ready. Pete read this verse about the oil of gladness and beauty for ashes…the garment of praise for heaviness that they may be called oaks of righteousness. This the planting of the Lord that in our suffering, He may be glorified. Our God is a God of grace… His nature is loving kindness and tender mercy. He has given us his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Therefore as the song says, “I will arise and go to Jesus. He will embrace me in his arms. In the arms of my dear savior, O there are ten thousand charms.”
May God richly bless you!
Your. Brother in. Christ,