“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”Isaiah 61:3
The prophet Isaiah boldly called out the moral and spiritual decline of Israel and Judah. Idolatry reigned. Despite this pervasion of wickedness, there was a faithful remnant of God’s people. Isaiah’s writings included hope, redemption, and restoration for them. His prophecies were long-term: a Messiah would come. And one day He would replace despair with praise, ashes with beauty.
Joni Eareckson Tada is an example of beauty from ashes. At age 17 a diving accident left her paralyzed, yet her life over the last 50 years reflects hope and purpose. Although Jeremiah 29:11 was written to the Israelites, she knows its direct application to her. She heads an organization called “Joni and Friends,” travels the world to bring wheelchairs to developing countries, hosts a radio program, writes books, etc. But beyond a life of ministry, she says that greatest meaning is found in her day-to-day relationship and communion with Jesus Christ.
Jesus offers us hope, redemption, and restoration. And He paid for it all at the cross.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord…, ‘plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Bible In A Year
- Judges 10-11
- Psalm 114
- 1 Corinthians 5-6