Lastwordsofchrist Easter 1012X140

From Ashes... Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

Read This:

Isaiah 58:11-12
11 The Lord will continually lead you;
he will feed you even in parched regions.
He will give you renewed strength,
and you will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring that continually produces water.
12 Your perpetual ruins will be rebuilt;
you will reestablish the ancient foundations.
You will be called, ‘The one who repairs broken walls,
the one who makes the streets inhabitable again.’

Think:

For most, Ash Wednesday is synonymous to people in the form of an ash-dabbed forehead. For others like my friend, it might be an awkward anecdote where they mistook the ash for some ill-timed and unfortunately placed dirt.

And when they said something, trying to be helpful, the person corrected them and explained the real reason for the “dirt” on their forehead.

Guys, I should be honest. That friend was me. You probably knew that though.

Anyway, Ash Wednesday is something a lot of us have a general sense of. But instead of deep diving into the historical significance of the day itself. I wanted to just talk about ashes. I know, super exciting, right? But stay with me.

What’s a prominent connotation when you think of ash? Burning, right? There’s a destructive element to ash because its very existence demands the burning or destruction of something.

This points to another prominent connotation of ashes, which is grief. No matter what the cause, the presence of ashes usually points to some kind of grief-worthy event. And this is usually where we leave the idea of ashes. Something bad has happened, now ashes exist, and the sadness therein is the punctuation on that reality.

But we know that all things, even ashes, work for the good of those who love the Lord.

Let’s look at it like this: Very simply put, there will be ash-laden seasons of life. Maybe they represent failures and destruction. Or maybe they represent opportunities or relationships that have burned to the ground. Or maybe, they just represent tragedy.

Whatever it is, God never meant for the ashes to be the end of the story. He actually meant for them to be the beginning. Just as Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, so too does God make new beginnings out of what feels like endings.

In the depth of any moment that despairs you, know that God has a plan! It may not be easy and it may not always be fun, but there is a big picture for you and God is the painter of it.

Ask:

What is something I’ve been seeing as a negative in my life that I should re-examine? How can I help others take heart during trying circumstances?

Pray:

God, one day, I too will be ashes. From dust I came and to dust I will return again. My prayer is that in this brief time you’ve given me, that I do all I can for you. That I enrich others, bless others, minister to others, but most of all, that I try to live out a life that echoes as closely as can be...your heart.