Beauty for Ashes

Have things ever fallen apart for you? Have you ever been sailing right along without a care when suddenly and unexpectedly everything changed? Things in this life can change in an instant and come without warning. Things like the loss of a job, the last minute change of vacation plans, or the unexpected change in a relationship. Whether large or small, it seems like change is the only thing that’s constant in our lives. But what do you do when things change? How do you respond? Your answer really matters.

When things don’t go the way we plan, we have a few options. First, we can have a meltdown. If you’re like me, this is usually your first reaction. I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so I am usually resistant to change. We are creatures of habit so it makes sense that we like it when things stay the same. If I come home and my wife has rearranged all the furniture I will probably go into an immediate slump of depression. But my first reaction is usually a bit more extreme than necessary. I can get so caught up in my initial discomfort with the change, that I don’t actually know how I feel about it. When I actually stop and take stock of my feelings, it isn’t as bad as I thought. 

The second response to change might be to go into denial. We can either act like the change never happened or try to force things to go back to where they were. One problem: denial doesn’t work because it doesn’t exist. If I try to pretend like the furniture is still where it used to be I’m going to keep running into problems (aka the coffee table) that will eventually hurt me. When we live in denial we live in a fantasy world, and we can never make progress towards solving our real problems when we’re not living in the real world.

The best way to respond to change is to embrace it, to roll with it, to make the best out of it. This is a beautiful thing because when we’re not pitching a fit or denying the problem, we are actually freed up to solve it and make things better. In addition to this, we may actually see the change as a path to something better than we could have imagined.

When we embrace change we might see our situation not as simply a devastating loss, but a new opportunity for more. This is where the principle of redemption comes in. God is the supreme author of redemption and He is always turning things for our good. Isaiah 61 says that He gives beauty instead of ashes, gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. Romans 8 promises that He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. These are the absolute truths of who God is and what He is constantly doing in our lives. The question is, will we live and walk in these realities?

In the end it all comes down to perspective, something that is absolutely in your control. You can’t control what changes, but you can control your reaction to it.
Will you view the changes in your life (big or small) as annoying pests or as opportunities to see God turn things around? Trust Him. He really does have your best in mind.


One Reply to “Beauty for Ashes”

  1. Another way of saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is “good is the enemy of great.” That phrase from Jim Collins rocked my world a few years back and is 100% true. As we settle into comfort we settle for “the good,” when “the great” almost always comes through endurance, perseverance and patience built through tests and trials of character. The test is ‘necessary? ‘I always think of The Apostle Paul when life shifts, seasons change or God seems to be writing a new chapter. He was never controlled by his circumstances. It’s unlikely that Gods glory comes to life through us unless like Paul and Silas we sing through the prison bars. Acts 16:25-39

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