When Life Breaks You
"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see." Hebrews 11:1 (MSG)
It was a hard year. Heart-breakin' hard.
A dream I nurtured for ten years went up in flames. This hope wasn't a passing flight-of-fancy. It was a promise I fully believed was from the Lord.
Staying the course and believing for so long was exhausting. And thrilling. Yet in a flash my dream died. My heart was burned and the ashes seemed a proper place to fall.
Sad and unresponsive to encouragement, I stayed there a long, long time. My hands (emptied of hope) filled with fists of ashes.
I knew I needed to get up; I just couldn't muster the elusive 'oomph' to do it. Grief was the only emotion that felt natural; sorrow was comfortable.
Yet I knew, wallowing in the embers would be the death of me as well. And here's the sweet thing: God knew this too. He unwaveringly kneeled next to me, extending a helping-hand up. He promised: This isn't the end. Give Me the ashes; I'll do something with them. Something beautiful.
He spoke this message in hundreds of ways. But it wasn't until He was silent that I heard Him at a concert.
It was barely noticeable. Permanently engraved on the girl's foot in front of me, the swirly feminine font contrasted with dark masculine ink: Beauty for ashes.
And there He was. Our God of redemption and resurrection, speaking His timeless message once again.
For me. For you. Give Me the ashes; I'll do something with them. Something beautiful.
That was several years ago. And I wish I could tie up my story with a pretty bow. Say that I unclenched my fists; gave God the soot. Have been happy-go-lucky since then. But I won't. Cause I can't.
I want to be real. And real is the fact that it's taken every day between then and now to see redeeming qualities from the heartbreak. To be honest, I still don't see much beauty from such devastation.
But like I said, I want to be real. And real is also my trust ... my faith ... in a God who makes life worth living. When I can't get a handle on my emotions or wrap my mind around the questions, I'll stay committed to...
Take Him at His Word, despite circumstances. Believe He is a creative Creator. Hope for what is unseen.
I'll continue to look for His goodness, our firm foundation, even if it's from a pile of ashes. Because truly, the most beautiful thing I see from these years and this pain is a faithful God.
One who stands by. One who redeems – all things. One who creates masterpieces out of muck.
A God who took the most hopeless situation and the ultimate death ... and resurrected hope. Resurrected our Hope: Jesus.
And there is the spark we need to light a new fire in us to Give Me the ashes; I'll do something with them. Something beautiful.
Dear Lord, I can't see how good will come from my pain. But You are my creative Creator and I know You can work masterpieces out of muck. Today, I recommit my hope and faith in You, and I'm looking up to You. Thanks for kneeling beside me so faithfully. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you opted to stare at the ashes, rather than gaze at God? This could be the day you Give Me the ashes; I'll do something with them. Something beautiful.
The most beautiful thing we can see from hard years and much pain is a faithful God. One who stands by. One who redeems - all things. One who creates masterpieces out of muck.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4a, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction ..." (ESV)
Psalm 3:3-4, "But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill." (ESV)
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