Alive Among the Ashes

BloomAshesSmallFire’s destructive, no doubt about it. That’s why we use such phrases as “tested by fire” or “I’ve been through the fire” to describe going through tough times.

On a recent walk I came upon a stretch of farmland where the farmer had intentionally set a fire to burn away brush a couple of weeks earlier. The fire had done its work at that time, leaving the ground black and lifeless, but now there were new blossoms of green that stood out vividly in the blackness of death.

The fire will prove beneficial for the little flowers. They will not have to compete for light from heavy undergrowth, for that burned away. The ash has added nutrients that will prove valuable to the flower. The fire may have also killed pests that would have been detrimental to the flower. Yes, the flower blooms and flourishes among the ashes. Life and beauty among the ashes, what an image of hope!

In recent years Smoky the Bear has had to tone down his fiery rhetoric! Yes, it still is a terrible thing to start a forest fire, either accidentally or on purpose, but scientists now know that there are also benefits to fires in the wild. Lightning has always started forest fires and yet we have forests, probably better forests because of the occasional natural fire.

Our lives also experience fire, the fires of adversity. Some fires we’re able to put out and some we’re not able to control at all. The good news is that God is still in ultimate control and he uses anything and everything that happens to us in life for our ultimate good and for His glory. This is the hope we must always hold onto! By the help of God we can come alive among the ashes!

The words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim 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 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.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

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