Beauty For Ashes

When we first moved into our house over four years ago, my favorite bushes that we planted were our bottle brush bushes. Each spring they would fill our backyard with vivid red blooms. During one of our recent winter freezes we failed to cover our bottle brush plants and they all died. This past spring I was definitely missing their place in the parade of colors. Yesterday morning as I was out watering our garden and some of our trees I noticed the shriveled up remains of one of our bottle brush bushes. What really grabbed my attention, though, was a new, healthy, green bottle brush plant now growing out of the dried-up, lifeless branches of the old one. I was reminded of Isaiah 61:3 that says

'To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory.'

Whenever we are in a season where our situation seems devoid of life and we feel hopeless, we need to remember that God is in the business of bringing life and beauty out of death and chaos. It says in Romans 8:11

'And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.'

So if you are taking inventory today of the garden of your life and there are places in you that feel dead or depressed or hopeless, then remember that promise from Romans. Think about how dreary and lonely and tragic and dark that day was when the Son of God breathed His last breath on a Roman cross. And yet, resurrection power was on its way three days later that would change everything. Hang on and hope for His resurrection power to flood into your life today!

in Christ,

Brian