Monday, November 14, 2011


Failure. Memories of it haunt. Fear of it paralyzes. The reality of it shatters.

The very meaning of the word "fail" means to be unsuccessful and broken. It hurts to feel broken. It hurts more when there is no one to blame but myself. I try to do better, but my "try" isn't enough. It is then that a sense sweeps over me of having reached the end of the road. Despair breaks some invisible dam in my soul and flash floods every part of me. I'm defeated. There is no room left to pretend. My self-confidence is stripped away. My conscience is raw like a skinned knee and my guilt is like sandpaper scrubbing at it mercilessly.

In that moment, when all I can do is cover my face and huddle in a corner, it is hard to see how any positive result could ever come from it. There wouldn't be any way out, it would truly be the end of the road, if it wasn't for an ancient promise. Thousands of years ago the Divine Ruler of the universes made an amazing promise to "give beauty for ashes."Isaiah 61:3

Ash is all that is left when something is destroyed; utterly ruined. It is the result of something not just being overcome, but consumed. It is true. When I choose to fall when I could have stood, when I deny Christ with my actions, I am nothing more than ashes on the ground. Overcome. Burned. Consumed. Where is the beauty?

This is the beauty - that God comes to the gray, powdery ashes of what was me and breathes back life. He doesn't even just restore me to my previous form, but raises me so much higher. God loves this work. Nothing brings Him more joy than to take one so spiritual defeated and raise them up to be a radiant son or daughter of the Most High.

Are you ashes? Never forget you can be made beautiful.

Are you made beautiful by grace? Never forget you were once ashes.