There’s a kind of cactus called a Maguey, a century plant. It grows for years with great coarse leaves as thick as two hands put together. The leaves are three inches thick and very long. The plant puts out sharp thorns and it’s just as ugly as can be. The longer it’s alive and the more it grows, it just gets uglier all the time. But suddenly it shoots up in just a couple of days and a great shaft tall and thick begins to grow. It decks its spreading head with thousands of flowers and becomes a beautiful plant.
The point is: the possibility of all that fragrant beauty was always in that detestable ugliness. Just as the fragrant beauty of your life is sometimes hidden underneath the calloused ritual. It is smothered by daily schedules and monotonous grind.
Isaiah said God will give you “beauty for ashes.” God knew you would be burnt by life’s experiences. But he also knew he could replace that burnt out mess with something beautiful.
He will give “beauty for ashes” There is a play on the sound and meaning of the Hebrew words, peer, epher, literally, “ornamental headdress” or tiara ( Ezekiel 24:17 ), worn in times of joy, instead of a headdress of “ashes,” cast on the head in mourning ( 2 Samuel 13:19 ).
In Bible times it was the custom for the people of that day to in great times of mourning and difficulty lay in ashes. Just think about that. You’ve got a problem in your life and you just sit down in a pile of ashes. It’s a grim scene. There is nothing beautiful about ashes.
But the scripture says he is going to take your difficult, disgusting, depressing and horrible situation and give you beauty. He is going to pick you up out of the ash pile of life and make something beautiful out of you.
You may feel like your life is ugly and insignificant right now. But sometimes things that appear ugly just need the right climate to grow. Do you remember that old Bill Gaither song:
“Something beautiful something good
All my confusion Jesus understood
All I have to offer him is brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful out of my life”
Joyce Meyer wrote a marvelous little book called Beauty for Ashes. Here’s a couple of quotes by way of a morning prayer:
“God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you – Both are equally important to Him.”
“There are two kinds of pain: the pain of change and the pain of never changing and remaining the same.”
“God plants dreams in people’s hearts. But many people do not continue all the way to the end in order to follow Him to the fulfillment of that dream. Many get started and quit get started and quit get started and quit. They do not continue because their broken heart overwhelms their hope. They do not have any inner strength to carry them through to the end. Jesus will bind up your wounds and heal your bruises. His Word is the medicine for your soul.”
“God is the Champion at bringing people from a place of destruction to a place of total victory. As they reach that place of victory they become trophies of his grace. and they are set on the display as a fragrant reminder of God’s goodness.”
Something beautiful out of my life…