"Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.”
- Isaiah 60:15 NIV
It’s interesting how the same fire that makes a candle wax melt, hardens clay - same environment but different and opposite results.
It’s the same principle throughout life; more than one person goes through a particular difficulty, challenge or experience, but they all come out with different and opposite results.
I had a conversation with a friend, turns out he was quite adventurous during his teenage years. He experimented with young women, broke so many hearts and caused pain. He recently came across one of the young girls he had hurt, turned out she’s into full time prostitution and uploads obscene pictures of herself to get attention. He tried talking her out of it and telling her how precious she was because Jesus loves her, she scoffed at his statement and informed him that he was the reason why she turned out to be the way she was, therefore he had no right to preach to her about a better life.
Yes, just like her, there’re a number of young women who turned out to be prostitutes because they were raped or used as sex tools by men in the past. On the other hand, I know of several women who went through similar and even worse experiences but used it for greater good.
Joyce Meyer, the famous female preacher, doing greatly in the world and touching the lives of a lot of women, had a terrible childhood. Her father made a habit of raping her every night until she was old enough to run from home, but in spite of that, she landed in the hands of an abusive husband and went through hell there also, until she could stand alone. Today she’s married to an amazing man but her past was hell - the fires of rape and abuse tried to burn out an amazing future, but she let God turn those ashes into beauty and through her bitter experience, she is able to minister effectively to women going through similar experience.
We live on a broken planet. It’s not the perfect world that God had intended for us. We live with broken, hurt humans, some recovering and others bent on staying hurt. So no matter how we try, people will not always treat us right. Out of selfishness or lack of understanding, they will hurt us.
We too, aren’t perfect. We can look back at our lives and see terrible choices we’ve made, decisions that landed us in places we never dreamt to be. No, we all do not have perfect pasts - the fires of poverty, abuse, just to name a few, could have burnt our lives, dreams and passions, and all we have is ashes - dusty evidences of a burning experience.
Now, we cannot change our past. No! But we can shape the future by how we let our pasts define us. We can getter better or stay bitter.
So, ashes signify that something got burnt – you - but beyond that, it also shows that you survived. You’re a survivor of something that killed others and the best revenge is to triumph. Use the setback as a stepping stone to greater heights, let someone who will go through the same experience look at you and find strength to believe that beauty can spring from their ashes.
For every burning, painful experience we went through in the past, there are a number of persons who have gone through the same. Some will accomplish great things, using the pain as motivation.
Don’t belong to the group that will bury their lives, dreams and worth, because of past experiences. Before you were born, there was no “you” and after you are gone, they’ll be no “you”. You are important. Your dreams and visions are peculiar to only you. Do not let your past determine your future, rise above the ashes of yesterday and bless humanity with your unique gifts today.
You are Loved.