13 Jun BEAUTY FOR ASHES
Wounded hearts . . .
Broken toys . . .
Shattered dreams . . .
From this rubble of ruins God has picked us up and recreated our inner image.
“. . . To bestow beauty instead of ashes and praise instead of despair . . . “
Isa 61:3; “O Lord , my Strength and my Stronghold, And my Refuge in the day of distress and need” Jer 16:19a
To be alive is to know crisis. Nobody is immune. Somewhere, sometime we all face it. It is like a bomb exploding. Shattering your life and leaving you to pick up the pieces. It could be divorce, death, sickness, betrayal or financial ruin.
As bad as it is a crisis can not only be survived but it can be turned into growth. The Chinese have an interesting symbol for the word crisis. It indicates both danger and opportunity. They realized that when the stakes are high and the outcome is in doubt, purpose can emerge from pain, like ‘beauty from ashes’. New dreams, new relationships, new attitudes about life can open up to you as a result of your experience. But real healing cannot begin until you learn to express your pain!
In a crisis your emotions are in turmoil. You experience grief, denial, anger, depression, anxiety, guilt – all in mega doses. And if you do not deal with them they linger and drain the life out of you. So, do not be afraid to go to God and ‘let it all hang out’. David did! Listen: ‘How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?’ (Ps 13:2). David did not try to ‘act’ his way through his prayer time; he cried out in total honesty. Go ahead – let off some steam – talk to God about how you feel, then watch Him give you “. . . beauty instead of ashes . . . and . . . praise instead of . . . despair . . .”
Surviving a crisis and turning it into growth means adjusting your thoughts and developing new beliefs about your life. It may be painful to dig into the facts of your crisis, but just as operating and cutting out a tumor is a necessary first step to healing, facing the facts is the first step toward becoming whole again.
Those who grow through a crisis learn which hopes, dreams and expectations were violated by the event. First they identify where the repair work is needed, then they develop a road map for the future. Often you are left with the feeling that ‘nothing will ever be the same again’. That’s normal. You may even have to make adjustments in how you work, where you spend your leisure time, and how you relate to your family and friends.
Remember, it’s the nature of a crisis to shake up your stable world. But it also forces you to reach deep within yourself, to find streams of hidden strength, courage and hope you never knew existed. You may not feel courageous or hopeful right now. But that doesn’t mean those things are not there. They are just waiting to be tapped!
Even though you don’t have strength today, you can call on the one who gives you the strength. Listen: “the Lord is my Rock, my fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm strength in whom I will trust and take refuge . . .” (Ps 18:2 amp). Inner healing begins when you give up hope for a bitter yesterday and take the first step toward making a better tomorrow.
Rev. Dr Subrata Fullonton, the author lives in Hyderabad serving the Most High God