Resources Beauty for ashes

Beauty for ashes

Hazelann Hannaway Borleand

By Hazelann Hannaway Borleand

IVP for the Caribbean and Americas Fellowship, Hazelann H Boreland lives in the beautiful setting of the British Virgin Islands. Mum to the lovely Eric who has been the youngest ever attendee at IPC meetings, Hazelann juggles a busy life at home, in GB and as a lawyer.

[Place a piece of coal or soiled rock in visibly prominent position]

Expectantly wait on the Lord, to reveal his glory and beauty in every situation.  Isaiah 61:3 KJV reflects God’s desire for His people:

“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.”

As we reflect on Christ’s presence in our lives as leaders and women, gaze for a moment on the block of coal held in the soiled hands above. Not, particularly attractive is it? Certainly, not what comes to mind when we think of beauty or even something to look forward to. However, if we reflect on Isaiah 61:3 or even on Jeremiah 18:4 is that not precisely what God asks of us? To expectantly allow and trust Him to use every situation in our lives to mould and shape us, as the potter carefully sculpts the clay in His loving hands.

Father God, we pray for hearts which embrace Jeremiah 18:4 and Isaiah 61:3 and with patience expectantly wait on the Lord amidst every circumstance, even when positive results are not obvious. Instead, let us trust You to mould situations like the lump of coal in rugged hands, coal which when heated by the pressures and gases of this earth and forced violently to the surface produces the purest and most precious commodity – the DIAMOND!!  Help us not to quit along the way, and look only upon the coal in our lives or the ugly circumstances representing the ashy coals. Help us not to miss the opportunity to become DIAMONDS rising with beauty from the ashes.

When we embrace the joy of being Expectant we too can see the DIAMONDS in every girl crossing our path and introduce them to Christ who is waiting to give them ‘beauty for ashes.’  We close this reflection with the Crystal Lewis, song Beauty for Ashes (words are below).

Beauty for Ashes, Crystal Lewis
He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear
Galadness for mourning, peace for despair
He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear
Gladness for mourning, peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy on your head
Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing
God knows you’re♯ near, just believe what he said

When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings wholeness and healing
God knows you’re near, just believe what he said

I once was lost, but God has found me
I was bound, I’ve been set free
I’ve been made righteous in his sight
A display of His splendor all can see (repeat)

…peace for despair, peace for despair, he gives peace for despair

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