Out of Ashes

Out of Ashes

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Frank Hinder, 1943

Out of ashes prayers are lifted
From the weary mourners call
Broken hearts are being mended
Jesus’ stripes can heal them all

Out of ashes into freedom
Out of dying into life
See the joy that’s set before us
In the blinding cross of Christ

Out of ashes sinners’ finding
Mercy hope and righteousness
Revel in their new found passion
Worshiping in thankfulness

Out of ashes He is risen
Seated with the heavenly hosts
Clouds of witnesses are praising
Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Nearly 10 years ago I commuted 75 miles each way to work. Mostly I used the time to pray, but from time to time I listened to a CD of worship music by Michael W. Smith and another by Steve Green which included Out of Ashes.

The song evokes Isaiah 61:3: “To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor ….”).

Both the verse and song offer hope and quiet confidence. I realize that the words “out of ashes” indicate that something (maybe everything) had been destroyed. What was once living or vibrant has burned up into ashes and in the middle a person mourning and offers prayers. Those prayers maybe be laments or petitions, maybe even praise despite the devastating losses, or maybe even because of them.

God promises transformation as a way to demonstrate his splendor, not necessarily to make life easy or comfortable for us as he turns ashes into beauty, mourning into joy and praise for depression.

It’s hard to be among ashes, but let’s hold on until we see he beauty!

Steve Green — Out of Ashes

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