Can anything good come from dust?

My kids and I went to the library last week. Our library experiences aren't organized or intentional by any means, instead this is how we do the library: we walk in, the kids grab a few books randomly off the shelf, they give them to me and then they go off and play with the toys. This method never allows us to know what we are coming home with much less knowing whether the books will be excellent, okay or just plain strange. During our last trip, they managed to pick a good book, Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust by April Pulley Sayre. The story talks about what dust is, where it comes from and what it does. The end of the book has 2 pages discussing dust in further details for the adults and in those pages it says, "When the sun is low in the sky, its rays hit dust particles at an angle. The more dust, the more colorful the sunsets and sunrises. When volcanoes erupt or forest fires burn, they send a lot of ash and soot into the air. This ash makes sunsets particularly colorful for weeks and even months, until the dust settles."

Who doesn't love a beautiful sunset? Who knew that something we find as useless and annoying as dust is the palette, which God uses to create His artistic masterpieces? God wastes nothing, not even something as small as 1/16th of a millimeter of ash. We all appreciate God's handiwork in the physical realm and as we appreciate these displays of His splendor it should remind us of what He also promises to do for us in the spiritual realm:

Isaiah 62:2-3
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
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.

The God who uses dust and ash in the physical realm promises to one up it for us in the spiritual realm; He promises to replace our ashes with a crown of beauty. In the Old Testament, times of mourning and repentance often included the presence of ashes. As I look over the past year, there have many days of mourning in my life and the lives of those around me. While I am not surrounded by the presence of physical ashes there are many dreams and desires that currently are ashes in my minds' eye. Sometimes it has been hard for me to look up and not settle into a place of sadness and despair. This book along with the verses in Isaiah have reminded me that even the ashes in our lives will be redeemed by Him. If a sunset is a demonstration of what He can do just by shining on ashes I can't wait to see what He will do when He replaces them.

1 comment:

  1. Today's post is particularly poignant, insightful and beautiful, my darling! Also, the Biblical fact that we are but dust is further testimony of the overwhelming, all-surpassing ability of God to create and recycle from the lowest plain to the highest summit. The Common book of prayer comes to mind that says, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”---but in the light of Scripture, there is no despair in that pronouncement for those who await the Resurrection to eternal life. Thanks for blogging your encouragement, for in giving, you shall surely receive (comfort).

    Love, Mom


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