Sunday, June 24, 2012
Beauty for Ashes
Ashes mean the end of hope, when there is absolutely nothing left, not even profitable to be burned off! Ashes are a picture of the lowest we can go. Ashes were used in the past to show how sad a person was, how down their hearts felt, they would cover their clothes and head with ashes as a public testimony of their sadness and despair.
We all have periods of ashes in our lives, when hope reaches its end, when there is no beauty to look for, no perspective. There are also many people in this world living in ashes for most of their lives, people being slaved, people suffering persecution, pain and sorrows, living inside war zones. Everything around them are ashes, ashes and more ashes. As grey and as opaque as they get, nothing to reflect light and shine.
The response of many is to look up and ask: Why? Or maybe to point their fingers at God and blame Him for all the evil happening in the world, or even to go as far as to deny His own existence, because they don't agree with the way He is running things. But regardless if we decide not to believe that there is a God, or to accuse God for the evil happening in the world, we still have to deal with our own ashes. They won't go away by denying God or by blaming God, they are still covering our clothes and our hearts.
What is the solution, then? There was a man named Job that suffered the loss of all his belongings, his children and his health. He was left with nothing, just ashes. However, God wanted to transform those ashes and bring beauty out of them, so God works on Job's heart one step at a time to transform his very inside. God asks Job some tough questions in the process, that could be asked to many today: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know!... Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it... Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God?" Job 38:4,5 40:2,8,9.
God was touching the very core of Job's heart to show that He is far beyond human understanding, becoming even ridiculous for us to point a finger at God: the very same finger He created! But remember that God was not trying to scare the life out of Job, He loved Job and wanted to move all the pride away to make place for something better, something more beautiful. Job reaches that state when he says "I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. ... I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:2,5,6
Now my eye sees You!! There was so much that needed to be burned off and turned into ashes to open the way for Job to see God! To see His glory, His wisdom, His power, but also His love and grace. God, at the end of Job's trial, blesses him back with twice more than he had before. He has more 10 children and his daughters are the most beautiful women in all their land. It is indeed a happy ending.
Jesus Christ came to this earth to give beauty for ashes. The entire Bible is filled with stories of ashes transformed into beauty by God, but the most beautiful of these stories is when God transforms the murder of His son Jesus Christ, the worst ashes that this world could have ever produced, into the most beautiful beauty: the salvation of men. Jesus Christ was covered with ashes (Lam 3:16), He took upon Himself all of our ashes, all of our despair and ugliness and suffered for each one of them. And after His body had been dead, instead of returning to dust, He was resurrected, bringing hope to our own ashes.
God did not leave us alone to deal with our own ashes, and He is not allowing evil to happen because He does not care. He cares so much that Jesus Christ received upon His body every one of our ashes, and He did it because He loves you. There is no ash that cannot be transformed into beauty. If you truly believe that He died for you, that He brought a solution to all the evil in the world by suffering the judgement for it against His own heart, He can transform your own ashes into beauty.
Just be aware that if God came down here today to destroy all the evil in the world, He would have to destroy your heart and my heart because we are also part of the problem. But He didn't come as a Judge yet, He still offers a solution to the problem of evil in your heart.
Do you want to end evil in the world? Start with you own heart, let him change it, mold it to His shape of love. What about the ashes that may still come to our lives because we live in an evil world? Remember also that the end of our story is not when we die; eternity is awaiting with more than double, more than triple of blessings for those who accept His solution.
There are no ashes that can't be transformed into beauty, just hand them to Him.