Beauty for Ashes // Isaiah 61:3
Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent. This is a period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) where Jesus followers are encouraged to prepare their lives for Easter. This is a time of prayer, fasting, and giving. Ash Wednesday is an important day to observe because we are called to acknowledge our mortality, confess our sin, and embrace our need for a savior. The sign of the cross is made on the forehead symbolizing the humble recognition that we are dust and to dust we will return.
Today’s verse from Isaiah 61:3 points to the time when God’s servant will come to set things right and bring beauty for ashes. The idea depicted here is how God brings hope from horror. This prophecy from Isaiah is also part of what Jesus read when He proclaimed the beginning of His public ministry (see Luke 4:14-21). Jesus proclaimed that the Good News of Salvation arrived.
Let’s face it, we all know how it feels to sit in the rubble of life’s disasters. I am sure it would not take much time for you to reflect upon something precious you once held that slipped and sifted through your fingers as ash once destruction struck. Days like today…Ash Wednesday…provide the perfect opportunity to gaze upon your messes and allow them to be reshaped into a message of transformation. From rubble to redemption? Yeah, this is what Jesus longs to bring to you.
I hope these next 40 days will help you acknowledge how dusty life can be when our preconceived notions get reduced to rubble. God can bring you beauty for your ashes, and that’s an exchange I am sure everyone is eager to make. May this Ash Wednesday be a time of help and hope in Christ. Yes, we came from dust and to dust we will return, but the Lord can make it into something beautiful. Will you let Him?