Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beauty from ashes

On a quiet street tucked away in a neighborhood full of 1950's cape cods and ranches, tragedy struck. In one of the small homes on a corner lot a spark flew and grew. By the time 9-1-1 was called and the firetrucks arrived flames were shooting out of the roof and engulfing the entire upstairs. Despite the best efforts of the firemen, the home was devastated. All that remained was a charred frame and burned-out foundation.
Just the other day I drove by the ravaged home. A few men were making their way through the yard, clearing out wood too singed to be salvaged. The dumpster in the front yard was full of torched memories and blackened keepsakes. Everything was an entire loss.
My heart broke for the family that lost everything they held dear. The place that had been their home sweet home, scorched beyond recognition. All of their comforts, treasures and possessions gone in a cloud of black smoke and ash. How would they ever rebuild and restore all that they had lost? The task ahead for that little house and the family who called it home looked too daunting to be undertaken. Surely the burned-out structure was destined for demolition.
Imagine my surprise when, just a few days later, I happened to be driving past the burned-out lot. On the same square plot of land where a charred frame once stood was a site I didn't anticipate. A repaired foundation, reinforced wall studs and new insulation were all in place. The dumpster had been emptied. New windows and doors were stacked high, ready for installation. The home was far from habitable but it was certainly not about to be met with a bulldozer. The little house was being restored and made stronger, sturdier, and safer than ever before.
As I drove past that house for the second time a flood of reassurance washed over me. That little home with the tiny lot could have easily been scrapped away in a days time. The workers would have even made it home for dinner. But someone saw in that unassuming, humble home a treasure worth saving and restoring. Someone loved the memories made within its burned out walls. Someone had chosen it as their refuge and cared for its yard. And that someone looked at the fire-ravaged structure and saw their sanctuary. So they went to work on restoring it and rebuilding it because that's what love does.
God has that same love for you and me. We may be broken, sick, emotionally devastated and physically exhausted yet God looks at us, loves us and has determined to remake us stronger, more vibrant and better than ever before. The process doesn't happen overnight. Like a fire ravaged home, the smokey remnants of our former lives must be cleared away. Then God can go to work installing the supports of His truth, the characteristics of His love and the stability of His peace.
The handiwork of God will never be matched. He will revitalize our ravaged hearts and make them new again. When we call God in to do our spiritual cleanup and ask for His design and execution for restoration He will turn our broken hearts into gleaming, beaming lights for His glory. He'll truly make beauty from our ashes.

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