To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
A few years ago I had a Brazilet (a Brazilian wish bracelet). A friend had just returned home from a trip to Brazil and insisted they were all the rage. I'm the type of person that loves to embrace other cultures so I jumped on the bandwagon. However, I'm also the type of person who mentally says "Amen" after blowing out her birthday candles and making a wish. So I was struck with the great idea of finding Bible verses that correlated with each wish; that way when I looked down at my wrist I would be reminded to mediate on those verses and pray about my desires. Isaiah 61:3 was one of those verses. At the time I was praying about career related things and I really wanted to use my creativity and eye for design to reach out to hurting people (beauty for ashes…and yes He did provide an amazing opportunity to do just that).
The verse popped into my head recently as I was praying for a broken relationship. I thought of how breakups bring mourning and how all of our relationships should bring glory to God in some way. I asked the Lord to take the situation and make beauty out of the ashes. I wasn't sure what that looked like. Was it growth and wisdom; the beauty of a changed mind? Was it a reconciliation that could only have been orchestrated by His hand; the beauty of a changed heart? Or was it something completely different?
In both instances the verse brought comfort. It serves as a reminder that the Lord will not leave His people or forget His promises even in times of despair. How could you apply this verse to your life? How could you use it to minister to those around you?