I was having a bonfire outside in the backyard the other night when a sudden truth occurred to me. My husband had grabbed a bunch of paper trash, and stacked kindling and wood around it. He then lit the paper and a fire began.
We come to God with our sin, our trash, our brokenness, pain and twisted ways. He gathers the kindling of His Word and the wood of the Cross of Christ, and builds a fire with it, in our hearts. The fire burns away the trash, turns it to ash and He then takes the ashes and gives us His Beauty instead.
Isaiah 61: 1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.”
That crown of beauty cost our precious Jesus, the Cross. He meets us in the Garden of Gethsemane, where we come and ask His forgiveness and finally bow to Him and say, “Not my Will, Lord Jesus, but yours be done.” That same Garden where He cried out to His Father, now Our Father, and then turned to walk that road we could not walk. He went the way of the Cross, He suffered for our sin, for our wrongs, for our rebellion. He died for us there, carrying our sins all the way to the grave. Then He rose again the third day, bringing us new life. Those of us who turn to Him for forgiveness, find that our sins have been turned to ash, through the fire kindled in our hearts by the Love of God.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The content of Ashes, our ashes, is all the disobedience, all the rebellion, all the blatant sin, and all the wrongs committed by us, even when we didn’t know it was wrong. This is our ashes, and we bring them to Our Precious Christ, where He gives us His beauty instead. What an Awesome and Mighty God we serve.