You may be familiar with the term “beauty for ashes”; or you may not. It is a picture of redemption, in my eyes – of something good coming from something bad; of life coming from destruction or death. The term is taken from Isaiah 61. Look it up. If you don’t have a Bible, biblegateway.com is a great resource.
I don’t know when, exactly, but regarding my life/marriage/future, God gave me a vision of a place of dry ground and sparse, prickly grass. A place scattered with the ruins of what was once a city. It was a place of death, destruction, barrenness. There was no life, no anything; it was desolate, inhospitable, and yielded nothing good.
And then, almost before my eyes, it became a garden of all kinds of different flowers, brimming with lushness and life. Vibrant greens, purples, blues, yellows reds, pinks, whites, oranges. Growing, flowing, overwhelming life.
This is our future. This is what God has in store for us. This is what he has promised me – sparkling life. Real life. Life as I ache for it to be. And it is what he wants to do for you, in whatever circumstances you face in life. What is broken and ravaged and desolate now will burst forth with life. He is making a way in the desert, streams in the wasteland.
With God, nothing is ever as hopeless as it feels. Nothing is ever as lost as it seems.
And nothing is ever as dead as it looks.
Over four years ago, God gave me this passage as a promise. A promise I had read at our wedding, a promise I have come back to and clung to every time I start wondering what the heck he is doing:
“‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’”
– Jeremiah 33:6-9