Beauty For Ashes

In Northern Ireland remains the remnants of a major volcanic eruption. While the volcano itself has long since passed, the massive molten basalt rocks stand quietly in the water’s bay. There are an estimated 37,000 polygon columns perfectly measured as if they were handcrafted by human intent. It’s called The Giant’s Causeway; the scene is breathtaking.

Early travelers did not know the origin of these beautiful rocks. They wrote that something happened, but could not determine that cause. Many of the stones have been weathered by the crashing sea, making them smooth to the touch. We know that a violent volcano eruption spewed these strange columns into place, but for the middle age explorer it remained a mystery.

The question was asked, “How could something so devastating become beautiful?” The answer, in its most simplistic and perhaps geological form, is time and water. Over time, with the continual moving of the ocean’s waves, what was sharp and unbearable became polished and pleasant.

The Giant’s Causeway is a natural occurrence, but the change in our lives is a Spiritual wonder. Speaking of Jesus and the result of His grace upon our lives, Isaiah wrote prophetically:

Isa 61:3 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; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

The moment of revelation came about in Luke 4 when Jesus “stood up for to read.” Jesus read Isaiah’s writing and then said, Luke 4:21 “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus changed our chaotic beginning and gave us Peace. He removed the ashes which stained our minds and gave us beauty. How could people, so messed up and disjointed, be included in the Bride of Christ? How could we who were dead in our own trespasses and sins be found in the Lamb’s book of life? The answer is Jesus!

His sacrifice gave our lives meaning. He carried our burden and offered to us what we could not give ourselves.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole