3 “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 (New Living Translation)
With the unexpected destruction of something by fire, there is usually some type of mourning, and all that is left of what once was is the ashes.
The people of Israel felt this loss. They were taken from their homes and from all they had known and were put in captivity. They held onto the ashes of their past that had been burned down because of captivity.
Their captivity, however painful it was, had been ordained by God to achieve His ultimate purpose for them: honoring and glorifying Him.
Your career as an athlete and your life journey may not be as smooth as you would like it to be. You will have defeats and difficulties along the way. And often, we are like the Israelites when it comes to the difficult parts of our journey.
We have a tendency to hold onto the ashes of our lives and make monuments to the most painful things. It’s understandable; pain can be difficult to let go. However, we may not truly be able to fully accept the good in our lives if we will not let go of the bad.
In Isaiah, God speaks of a great exchange between Him and Israel. In the midst of their suffering, God wanted His people to know that His favor had come to them and they would be restored. But in order for that to happen, they had to give over some things: their ashes, their mourning and their despair.
How often have we held on to the ashes of something that has since passed away? We live in a perpetual state of mourning for something that God ordained to die to push us further in our purpose.
We must stop mourning that lost race, game or match, and receive the beauty that God wants to give us.