Of one thing you can be sure, the Lord our God is faithful to restore us after a season of suffering. Even if it’s suffering we bring upon ourselves because He knows we are sojourners and don’t always make right choices. We are surely capable of taking the wrong turns. We are surely capable of taking people and opportunities for granted. We are surely capable of missing the call or dropping the ball. We are capable of falling down and seeing our lives go up in smoke, leaving only ashes. Some have to experience a season of imprisonment as a result. These are hard lessons along the road of life.
But sometimes the ashes can be things we did not necessarily bring upon ourselves such as a season of grieving for a lost loved one, whether they died or just went away. Ashes might be a season of sickness and disease upon yourself or a loved one. A season of famine or lack; not necessarily monetary, could be something infinitely more valuable, a lack of love, joy, or peace.
Imagine the ashes felt by soldiers of war as they stand on the front lines of battle to defend freedom that comes at the price of their own blood. Many come home broken and shattered emotionally, mentally and even physically. Today there are many soldiers on the frontlines of spiritual warfare for the soul of our great nation America. For seasons of war (physical or spiritual) and persecution the Lord said, “They that prey upon you, will I give for a prey. Those that devour you will be devoured. Those that spoil you will be spoiled. And I will restore health unto you and heal you of your wounds.”
Whatever your ashes may be, know that Our Great and Mighty God is well able and promises to renew and restore you to “Beauty” from those ashes of despair, grief, loss or trouble. In return for our trust and obedience, He said He would, “Restore the years that the locust has stolen, the caterpillar, the palmerworm and the cankerworm.” Nothing is too hard for Him. He would ask us the question “Is My hand too short that I cannot redeem you?” “If the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, the same spirit that raise Christ from the dead will also quicken our mortal bodies by His spirit that dwells in us.”
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." If we've swallowed the bitter pill of sin, repentance is available. "Ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money." The precious blood of the Lamb of God has paid the price that we might receive forgiveness and walk in the newness and beauty of an abundant life with fullness of joy. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Whatever you might feel is missing in your life does not have to be the determining factor of whether you can walk in the fullness of God’s beauty and love; Even if you’re missing an arm or a leg or hair on your head or a spouse; Even if you are blind or deaf. Perhaps you are orphaned without parents. Perhaps you have been outcast or rejected by those around you. Remember what God did for Joseph. Our God is still faithful to His word.
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.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.