GOT ANY ASHES YOU’D LIKE TO GIVE UP THIS YEAR?
I suffered, late last year, the greatest human loss and hurt of heart that I've ever had in my life. At the time and in the aftermath of this I learned some things, very humbling to me, about myself. For instance, I learned that I wasn’t as spiritually strong and emotionally steady as I had always secretly believed that I was, and that my faith was as subject to being temporarily shaken as anyone else’s. I also learned how much I could learn from my wife and children and some close friends about how much it can mean during hard times to have the kind of family and friends that I have.
I’ve learned that when the Bible says that to “die is gain” (Phil. 1:21) that the ”gain” isn’t necessarily just for those who have now entered into and are enjoying the glories of heaven in the presence of God; that sometimes, oftentimes, those who have suffered the temporary earthly “loss” of a loved one, experience, at the same time and through it all, tremendous “gain” in all the ways that really matter. And these “gains,” for me, have been many and precious.
God promised, in Isaiah 61:1, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” I still have some heaviness, but for me, there’ve been some beautiful “take-a-ways” from the “ashes” of my recent time of trouble and tears. One has been the beautiful, healing and empowering truth that we should never as God’s children, focus on what we’ve lost, but we should always focus on what we have left. I have so many beautiful things left, among which is knowing that even that which is now lost to me, will not be lost for long. And none of this would be true, if it were not for "God," who “So loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). (Share this if you can. It miight help somebody).