Man, life can be really tough! It can certainly take some unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes things are going very well, and you experience seasons of acceleration and great victory. Other times, things aren’t going so well; struggles, tragedies, and wilderness seasons show up in your life without any invitation.
Those are the times when we are left sitting in the ashes of life. What are ashes? Ashes are the residue that remain after burning especially when something is ruined or destroyed. In most cases, there probably was no actual physical fire in your life, but I am sure that something has been ruined or destroyed at some point or another. I’m sure you have looked around your life and seen nothing but ‘ashes’? You probably asked yourself, “what in the world just happened…how did I get here?”
You are not alone…I’ve been there too.
We can find some comfort in Isaiah 61:3 (KJV) which reads 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.
The enemy would have you to believe that you are stuck in those ashes, and that things will never improve. That lying devil wants you to feel hopeless and depleted. It is neither the truth, nor God’s plan for your life. God desires that you get up out of those ashes, and come back stronger than ever. There is life after the ashes! In fact, there are 3 things that you can expect after the ashes:
1. Beauty- It may be hard to see or even imagine right now, but there is beauty on the other side of what you are facing today. Our loving Father desires to remove all of those ashes from your life, and give you beauty. The beauty will show up in different ways when you least expect it. Maybe through a person, a song, a rainbow, or an answered prayer. However, the real beauty won’t be visible or tangible because day by day it will be happening deep down on the inside of you. While you are clinging to Him with everything that you have left, He will be healing and perfecting you. What you can’t see is God strengthening your spirit, repairing your soul, and healing your heart. That is the beauty that He has just for you!
2. The Oil of Joy- Chances are that you have experienced mourning before. Mourning is a natural response to grief and pain. While it is a natural response, God does not want it to be a permanent response. After the ashes, after you seek God, and then follow His instructions (at the appropriate time) you can surely expect to receive joy. Not just a little bit of joy, but the oil of joy which is God’s continual flow of joy that He will be sending your way. Just receive it, the oil of joy is yours!
3. The Garment of Praise- Whenever you look around and see nothing but ‘ashes’ you almost always experience the spirit of heaviness as well. A spirit of heaviness could show up as deep, intense sadness, depression, hopelessness, or leave you feeling completely weighed down. God never wants you to feel heavy, stuck, or immobilized. That is why you can always expect the garment of praise when you call on Him after the ‘ashes’. There is just something about praise that changes everything! In essence, when you wear the garment of praise you are covered in praise! The more you praise, the lighter you will feel. That spirit just cannot remain when authentic praise is in full effect. Put on your garment of praise, and watch that heaviness get off of your back!
I know that you may be going through a lot right now, but trust me, you will get through this…greatness is waiting for you on the other side of those ‘ashes’. Let Him Heal your soul!
Your Sister in Christ,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you that there is life after the ‘ashes’. Thank you in advance for removing the ashes, the mourning and the heaviness from each reader today. We thank you now for releasing beauty, joy, and praise into their lives now! In Jesus' Name, Amen.