Beauty for Ashes

By Jamie Harms

We can name many horrible things related to coronavirus. People are sick and some are dying, workers have lost their jobs, relationships struggle as people live in close quarters, and schools are closed, to name just a few. However, even in the midst of the hard, God can redeem a situation and make something beautiful from it.

One of the highlights of these past four weeks — if you can say there are highlights in a pandemic — is my daily walk. I stroll through my neighborhood and notice things I have never seen before from the light through the trees and flowers now blooming to the sound of the birds and frogs. I see my neighbors in the yard and the neighborhood cats and squirrels going to and fro. I become overwhelmed by the beauty of my Creator, and I am reminded that He is still good, faithful, merciful, and kind. He is the ultimate Redeemer, who can make something out of nothing, who can take what is broken and transform it into something beautiful.

Gazing at the beauty He has placed all around me brings me to a place of prayer. Adoration spills forth for my God, who is with me no matter what my circumstances. Remembering who my God is and what He has done for me necessitates confession as I realize the hardness of my own heart displayed in my attitudes and actions. Confession brings those sins and hurt to the surface and allows my Redeemer and Lord to bring healing. Recognizing my own need causes me to pray for my lost neighbors and hurting friends, knowing that sometimes we just need someone to pray for us when we cannot.

Walking prayer is a time to refocus and to remember that my God can indeed make beauty from ashes. Thus, the words of Isaiah have become my prayer, and I hope will become yours as well.

Heavenly Father, We thank you for Jesus in whom 
the Spirit of the Lord God dwells,
because the Lord has anointed Him
to bring good news to the poor;
and has sent Him to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion,
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
— Isaiah 61:1-3

May we cultivate the soil of our hearts in prayer this week that we might become oaks of righteousness, displaying His beauty for His glory.

2 thoughts on “Beauty for Ashes

  1. Beautifully said, Jamie. I’m also finding my daily walks are a natural time for gratitude, prayer & praise.


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