Friday, September 25, 2009

#48 Beauty in Death?

Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes.”

If we were to take a poll, each of us would likely have a favorite season of the year. While our summer in Michigan was mild and arguably more of an extended spring, we still had a few hotter days that reached into the 90’s. There is no doubt that we have winter here in Michigan and fall is the glorious prelude to the long winters.

If I were polled fall would be listed as my favorite season. There are several things I love about fall. Fall is the time where the evenings are a bit cooler and you can enjoy sitting around a fire singing, sharing, and just taking in the goodness of nature. There are fewer bugs also in the fall. The bugs go more dormant with the cooler temps and being outside without bugs is great. With the cooler evenings you can wear sweatshirts or a light jacket and it is just so refreshing to go for a walk in the fall. The sun is not blazing down upon you with sweat running in your eyes, and the air that you breathe is brisk and invigorating, not stuffy and heavy like the humid air of a hot, sunny day. Outdoor sports is also made more fun by these types of conditions.

While I love the aforementioned things a lot, my favorite part of fall is the changing of the leaves. It amazes me that even in the death of something God has brought us beauty. During the spring and summer we see mainly the green in leaves because the leaves have enough water and sunlight to mix with the chlorophyll to feed the trees. The shorter days of fall let the trees know to shed their leaves for winter’s long haul. The trees stop producing the green chlorophyll that facilitates making food and as the chlorophyll lessens and stops the leaves begin to display the reds, browns, oranges, and yellows that make the trees seem to be burning with intense color. People drive for hundreds of miles just to see the fall colors in certain areas because even though the leaves are dying there is an intense beauty there that seems to pour peace through our souls. Only God could and can bring beauty from death. I have attached a picture of one of my favorite fall scenes.

The gorgeous colors of fall remind us of the wonderful power of God. God has the amazing ability to take something bad and turn it around for His glory. He did it through Joseph in Genesis 50:20 and He promised it through Paul in Romans 8:28. God can take the tragedy and suffering of life and make something beautiful out of it. This is one of His specialties. Often times though it is hard to not blame God for loss in our lives, but when recognize that Satan is the one who brought sin and suffering into the world and we perpetuate it by our own sins then we know God is not to blame. It is my prayer that each time we find ourselves facing hard times in our lives that we will seek the face of God and ask Him to give us beauty for the ashes in our lives. In Bible times ashes served as a symbol of mourning and loss, but our theme text reminds us that Jesus longs to give us beauty in place of those ashes.

Why not step back from any trial you may be facing and ask the Lord to give you beauty in the place of your ashes of loss? Why not seek to let the Lord turn something tragic into something that will bring honor to Him? He has promised He will do it friends, why not let Him? Whatever your struggle may be today pray that you may given beauty in its place. However empty you may fill pray that the Lord will fill you with His love and His hope. You will not be disappointed. It may not happen right away, but eventually you will be able—with God’s help—to look back on the struggles of today and realize that God gave you beauty in the midst of your ashes of loss and heartache.

Dear Father in Heaven,

Today we need to feel Your presence and we need to feel Your arms around us. Dear Lord, I pray that no matter what the struggle is in this life that You will teach us to give it over to You fully that you may bring beauty from our ashes. Thank You for the promise that Jesus is coming soon and that we will be with You forever more where sin, death, and suffering have no place. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

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