“and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them 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.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
If there is one thing that I have become absolutely convinced of in my past 21 years, it is that Jesus is better than we think at any and every turn of our lives. He gives a hopeful alternative when the world simply hands us an awful card or when people around us make decisions that hurt us whether that be a bad breakup, your parents getting a divorce, a close family member dying, etc. With God, there is always more to look forward to, because he is never done with us. God persists. When the world teaches us to back down, Jesus teaches us to step forward into our Father’s arms who is eagerly waiting on us.
God is always looking for an opportunity to redeem, it is in his very nature to redeem. Redeeming something literally means to “compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something.” God does not just compensate for out faults but instead goes one step further and makes us beings blameless in his sight, covered by the blood of Jesus. There is never a situation that is outside of the reach of our God. God makes the impossible probable. He takes something as lifeless as ashes and turns them into beauty. He spoke life into dry bones. He split the sea so the Israelites could walk through it. The greatest masterpieces come out of the worst situations. When all light is lost, God can still speak it into existence.
There is purpose interwoven into your story; that in the worst moment you have faced God would come down to pick you up out of the mess and give you a crown of beauty. You were meant to be significant. You carry with you an inheritance that is backed by the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Creator of the cosmos. Your crown was meant to be on full display for all of creation to see. Jesus gave up his seat, so you could rise up with him. The depth of honor that Jesus showed in that moment should be reflected in us and how we honor those around us. We honor people, knowing that we are worth honoring as well.
We should always meet God in our brokenness. Brokenness is never a concept I have been all too comfortable with for many reasons. The main one is that I thought I had to get it all right before God would even look at me, because I never learned what unconditional love truly means until much later in life than normal. God’s love outweighs the cost of our sin. In fact, our ashes may be the biggest indicator to the goodness of God’s heart. In our failures, God meets us and shows us the everlasting depths of his heart. His love is the deepest thing known to mankind. No storybook romance could ever compare to love of God for his people in that he did not care what it would cost him to get us back, he only cared what it would get him: the possibility of relationship with his people.
Satan’s worst for us will never be able to overcome the goodness God has for us. God’s rebuild on our lives is going to look better than the original design. What Satan meant to shatter the walls will only serve as windows to the goodness of God. God is doing a supernatural exchange in this verse in giving his people joy instead of mourning. He is the only one that can take away the mourning we can get so easily entangled in. His joy speaks of a higher promise, and eternity that was echoed as Jesus rose on the third day. His promise gives us something to look toward, because this earth is not our ending.
There is trust that can happen, because you can rest in the truth that the God you serve is not some distant King that wants to keep his hands off the process. he is the best Father you could ask for that will step down from the highest place, so he can let you have his throne. I am convinced that the Father heart of God is the best way we can experience the presence of God on this side of heaven. He invites you to step into family, he chose you to be a part of his forever story.
You are a living invitation for others to see the goodness of God on FULL DISPLAY. Your story does not scream “MESS,” but it actually proclaims of the Redeemer that lives inside of you now. Live your life boldly, always showing off the Spirit that roars on the inside. Your testimony is someone else’s prophecy.
Author | Cristina Rosiles