Ashes! Ashes are what’s left from the warming fire you previously enjoyed. Life can feel like that sometimes.
Don’t try to live in yesterday’s successes or failures. The Bible advises, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” Philippians 3:13 (NLT). The past is meant to remain the past, not become the comparative measure of your tomorrows.
Bad or best, hurtful or helpful, the past is never a good place to live. Tomorrow, not yesterday, is where your future is.
Here is God’s plan and promise — a grand exchange for something far better: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor . . . to bestow on [those who grieve] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:1–3).
Your release is the invitation for His provision. You give Him your broken heart; you come to Him with your captivity; you come out of your darkness; you bring your cause for mourning; you offer Him your grief; you bring the ashes of yesterday; you confess your despair.
A loving God takes all the things you don’t want or need and exchanges them for everything you were without.
He releases you into freedom, bringing you incomparable comfort, crowning you with beauty, anointing you with gladness, and clothing you in praise. That sounds like quite a deal to me.
The best you have known will seem only ashes compared to the “crown of beauty” Jesus gives.
You might have thought your life before Christ was one big party, as good as it gets, but the Bible says, “‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him — these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10).
To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. —Isaiah 61:3, NIV
Prayer: God, our prayer today is that we give You opportunities to surprise and amaze us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pauline Munganyinka works as a Sponsor and Donor Services Associate for Compassion Rwanda.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.