Beauty from Ashes: Redemption in All Things

I have spent most of the summers of my life in the Appalachian Mountains, worshiping under the stars, by the river at my favorite place on earth: Camp Dickenson.  I met Jesus at camp, I grew with Jesus at camp, and He’s taught me some pretty important life lessons as I walked out most of my childhood and teenage years at camp.

So it should really come as no surprise to me that as I ponder the frustrations I feel about all the negativity, injustice, and anger at the world, the church, and humanity in general, truths that God placed in my heart at camp would come back to me.

The last summer I spent there, we used the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor during our worship time quite a bit:

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around                                                                                                                                                              Hope is springing up from this old ground                                                                                                          Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, you are making me new.

These words speak to me on so many levels. God is redeeming my life and using every moment to bring glory to Him. God is redeeming the world. He is growing a garden in the ground of its chaos. He makes beautiful things out of dust. We were created from dust, and Christ deemed us so beautiful that He came to earth to redeem us. In Isaiah 61 the prophet speaks of Christ restoring us with a crown of beauty instead of ashes. Those He redeems will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated. 

God is not only redeeming our personal lives and the sin, shame, and guilt that come with living in the world, but He is using our redemption to change the world. He makes beautiful things out of the dust. We are crowned with beauty and in turn, rebuilding the ancient ruins and the places long devastated.

I like to think those long devastated places are both a physical and metaphorical representation of  both the strife in our world but also the ruin in our own personal life experiences, relationships, and daily walk. It’s easy for us to focus on the ashes but ignore that we have been crowned with beauty. It’s easy to see all that’s lost, but ignore the parts that have been found. It’s easy to forget that out of chaos life is being found in Him.

He is making all things new.

Molly Williams1548187_10102543858364922_134309172_o
Crossroads Urban Center, Salt Lake City, UT
US-2, Class 2013
Advance # 3021854