Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: REDUCE (11/05/15)
TITLE: Instead of Ashes
By Lisa Enqvist
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“Are you willing to continue along this path, even though there are obstacles along the way?”
In youthful eagerness she replied.
She thought she had surrendered everything to follow the road God had chosen for her. Before coming to that point of surrender, she had cried many times,
“The road ahead is far too difficult. I will never be able to finish my journey. The demands are too great! I have already given so much in the past. I just don’t have any more to give.”
Her Guide said, “I will supply all your needs.”
The years passed by. Again her Guide reminded her that the road ahead would be tough.
“Will you go on, even if it means losing everything you have done before?”
She heard the words of a beautiful new song on a cassette. Would that be her song in the days to come?
“You touched everything I owned
all that I held dear
You reduced it to dust and ashes
revalued my life and held me near.
In awe I see how my hands
that clung tight to all I had owned
open softly like lily petals
to the light from a cloudless sky
You touched everything I owned
Earthly treasures have lost their charms
Now my life depends on Your precious will
I will rest in Your loving arms."
Again time passed by. Illness had reduced her ability to work. A wild wind of chaos seemed to destroy everything around her. Was this the price of following her calling? Was it this her Guide meant when he showed her the pile of ashes many years ago. She had tried to understand the symbols at the time, but only now she could identify something of the meaning.
He showed me a pile of ashes
What had the fire consumed?
Was it all the achievements of a lifetime?
Or just the debris of memories that had burned?
Had her life work been reduced to nothing?
He showed me a scarred hand searching
cautiously sifting the ashes around
for shards of a priceless vessel
now purified by the blaze
The vessel - once formed by the Master
Had been marred over and over again
by grains of rough mutiny - of stubborn rebellion
sometimes by harshness of unfeeling foes
The hands of the Master took the crushed vessel
Renewed it, formed it, and made it whole
Scorching flames burned all the rubble
The Master lifted the vessel again
He poured out His riches through the vessel of gold
The needy can reach out for treasures untold.
Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NIV)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim 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 joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV
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