Friday, August 30, 2019

Van Rooy: beauty from ashes

Friday, August 30, 2019
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
    because the LORD has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
    the oil of gladness
    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.
    —Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
    I know there are many who have pitied my beginnings, thinking it tragic that I had to endure such traumas both as a child and throughout my life, but I confess that I have rather pitied those who have never tasted the bitterness of a trial “too severe.” For how is one to appreciate the contrast of light’s dawning hope if his soul has never trembled through the dark hours of a nightmare’s watch? Or how can one prove God’s faithfulness if he never is granted the privilege of wandering through a barren desert, where only pools of Christ’s Presence can possibly provide survival? It is a great honor to be apportioned pain. Christ Himself, though God incarnate, learned obedience through what He suffered. Dare we assume that we as His children can be taught by any wiser or kinder instructor than the severity of unwanted pain? We dare not steel ourselves against our trials, running away from the fires where our pruned branches crumble to ashes. For if we escape those flames, we will risk barrenness of soul and will miss out on the beauty that only is born through the ashes of yesterday’s grief.
    ... Cammie Van Rooy (b. 1979), "Beauty From Ashes" [2002] (see the book)
    See also Isa. 61:1-3; 50:5-6; Matt. 16:21; 17:12; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; 24:25-26; John 4:34; Phil. 1:29-30; 2:5-8; Heb. 5:7-10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I thank you for all blessings.
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