Ashes to Beauty

Gwen SmithBlog, Christian Living, Devotions, Knowing God by Name, Prayer, Worship 4 Comments

Broken Beautiful Piano blur

God’s redemptive grace can restore any life.

In the beginning, at the very moment that rebellion collided with perfection and invaded the hearts of humanity, God set in motion a plan of redemption. His plan was Jesus, His only Son, who came to redeem us, to save us, to wash us clean from sin. He is an awesome Redeemer, One who gives beauty for ashes, comfort for mourning, and freedom to the shackled. A Savior who imputes His righteousness to the wretched, shines light in the darkest places, and breathes hope into the weariest of souls.

Scripture introduces us to a guy who experienced God’s redemption in beautifully deep ways. Job was a good man. I mean a really good man. The Bible says, “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). He lived life the right way. He honored God, loved his family, and was both faithful and patient. Good man.

You’d think that such a standout guy would pretty much have a cake life, right? So not right. Let me just say this: good-guy Job went through some stuff. Boy, did he go through some stuff. We’re talking major big-league stuff. He had it all and then lost it all: his children, his wealth, and his health. Gone. In a blink.

Don’t just skim over that last paragraph.

This man lost his children, for goodness’ sake!

They died.

All ten of them. At the same time.

I can’t even fathom the thought of losing one of my children, let alone all of my children. Shiver. Job knew brokenness on levels that few of us will ever come close to experiencing. He knew ashes. He knew mourning. He knew darkness. He knew weary.

On the front end of the pain, he demonstrated faith. Big faith. He held on to his integrity, accepted his circumstances, and blessed the name of the Lord in spite of the horror he endured. And he worshiped! Can you believe he worshiped?

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20–22)

Job went through loss after loss, test after test, and friend-with-bad-advice after friend-with-bad-advice who spoke condemnation instead of comfort. All that and his wife wanted him to “curse God and die!” (2:9) Nice. Isn’t it amazing how some people can say dumb things that completely misrepresent the heart of God in times of struggle? Oh, friend, let us be women who are quick to comfort and slow to speak advice.

Stepping down from my soapbox…

Job was in anguish (6:2; 7:11). Understandable! He wanted to die because the pain was so unrelenting (6:8–10). He called out to God and asked Him to reveal where he had gone wrong. Then he repented of the sins that he knew he had committed.

Job lamented. Stomped his feet a bit. Got a smidge sassy and frustrated with God. And he wondered if God even cared. Then God answered his complaints, corrected his heart, and set the wheels in motion for one of the most amazing shows of redemption the world has ever seen.

In time God shined light into Job’s darkness, spoke gladness to his mourning, and brought beauty to his ashes. He redeemed Job’s life from the dark pit of brokenness. Through it all, Job humbly and wholeheartedly worshiped the Lord. Not perfectly, but persistently. Job, who was the first in Scripture to ever call God his Redeemer, did not wait until his suffering had passed. He worshiped God as his Redeemer in the midst of his trials—by faith. Faith that proved well placed. Even though he longed for evidence that God cared, Job clung to the certainty that God was his Redeemer when, in a time of prolonged agony, he confidently said of Him, “For I know that my Redeemer lives” (19:25, ESV).

God also names Himself our Redeemer in Scripture: “Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 60:16).

You see? God is all about redemption.

His love for humanity runs deeper than the deepest recesses of our depravity. His love extends farther than your past, higher than your disappointments, wider than your heart wounds, and deeper than a cavernous pit of depression. God’s plan of redemption is for every person, no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve been through, no matter what you’ve done.

But, alas, there’s a catch.

There’s always a catch, right?

The catch is, your redemption has to be personal.

His grace is for every one of us, but each of us must accept or reject God’s redemption plan by accepting or rejecting his Son, Jesus Christ. Redemption begins and ends with Jesus. For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NLT)

Redemption is for me.

Redemption is for you.

Do you believe that? Have you made it personal with God?

Whether you are at work, at home, at the hospital or in a jail cell. He’s whispering, “Be still.” Whether you are struggling with life strains or are in a season of reprieve. “Be still.” Whether you have a house full of crazy-noise or an apartment filled with ordered-quiet. “Be still.” Whether the diagnosis is cancer or the sting of betrayal is fresh – whether the hope you cling to resounds or you are weary and unsettled. “Be still.” Know that He is God. Know that He is good. Accept that He is able and willing to exchange beauty for your ashes. Call out to Him as your Redeemer.

Confess your mess before Him.

Consider His love.

Then in the stillness, respond from your heart.


Dear Lord, My Redeemer, I’m here. I’m still. Please reveal anything in my heart that needs restoring. (Pause to listen and reflect.) I confess these sins to You: ________________ and I ask that You remove them as far as the east is from the west. Thanks for capturing me with Your grace once again. In Jesus’ name I pray,


FOR YOUR RESPONSE and REFLECTION: Be still before Him.

The noise of life can be so loud. I’m right there with you trying to hit the mute button each day. Failing on many days. One way I’ve found to center my heart on God is to drown out the world with worship. I just posted a lyric video for my new song, “My Strength, My Song” on my YouTube channel. (CLICK HERE to see the video!) I hope that you will be encouraged by the song – and please share it with someone who can use the encouragement also.


Did today’s redemption message resonate with your heart?  Learn how God wants to bring you beyond your past mistakes and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It’s also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus.


Today’s GiG devotion is adapted from Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc.

Comments 4

  1. Thank you, I am reading this today (Jan 6). So good to be reminded and prodded! What I find cool is that I scrolled back to the top after reading it, and discovered that the date of the devotion is my birthday 2013. This birthday was a tough day and I’m still dealing with the emotions of that day, I needed to be reminded to be still, and I need to trust that God can bring beauty from ashes. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for these truths and speaking boldly on social media. I needed to hear how far-reaching Love’s Love really is and you distinctly named the areas I’ve been dealing with for far too too long! Thank you for listening and staying tuned in to what God’s saying and speaking to a wife and mother such as myself.

  3. Thank you once again, Gwen. I have done two of your studies, and love it when I find a lesson like this. Having reasons for so needing this on this day, I just have to say, “You are a gift from God to me, and your lesson was a blessing.” One of those things I call, “BLESSONS.” God Bless You

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