Beauty from Ashes

During and immediately following the election, there was a lot of division going on in this country. The left blamed the right and vice versa. Everyone was up in arms and full of venom on social media. Even if the tirades were true, which often they weren’t on either side, they were seriously lacking in love. They weren’t meant to bring evil to light or right wrongs; they were meant to cause fear and division. All too often the plan worked.

In the last few weeks, people have banded together to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and are making plans to support victims of Hurricane Irma, not to mention the help sent to fight fires in the west. People are coming together to face a common enemy. The divisive factions are fading in importance as people face, at the least, possible destruction of their homes and, at worst, their very lives. People are being generous and thoughtful, showing love to their neighbors and even total strangers. This is something that has been needed all along.

When Mount St. Helen’s erupted in 1980, it seemed like a disaster of epic proportions. However, when the smoke and ash had cleared, the surrounding forest grew back stronger than ever, enriched by the ash itself. There was literal beauty from the ashes. Isaiah 61:3 says, “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.”

Sometime God has to use disasters to help us focus on what is really important. When we focus on God and his plan, we stop noticing all the little annoying things around us that can get blown out of proportion. Instead, we see what we should have been doing all along: loving God and loving each other. In the face of a hurricane or wildfire, political and religious designations lose their importance. Let’s follow the words of a hymn instead:

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free:

Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

(Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen Howarth Lemmel)


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