Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

‘What do you think people think when they see you?’ Most people have no idea of where we’ve each come from and where we’re going. All they see is a snapshot  – a photograph – no perspective and no background. With snapshots, all we can do is categorize them. In doing so, we all become a little judgemental. For example when we see someone a little overweight, we judge them. But if we’d seen that they have spent the last year reducing their weight by half, we would congratulate them.

So in a world of people taking snapshots of us – judging, categorizing and misunderstanding (and us taking snapshots of them – we call it people watching!) – What does God think of us? It’s a tough question because of the type of world that we live in. An even better question is ‘What do you think God thinks when He sees you?’.

Samuel had the same problem. When choosing the next King of Israel from the family of Jesse, he was biased towards the way each of Jesse’s sons looked!

God had to have words with Samuel and told him that ‘man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (1 Samuel 17:7)

He then chose David.

Man looks at the outside.

God looks on the inside.

When Michelangelo bought a block of fractured marble that had been rejected three times previously, he said that he saw an angel caught in marble. He then went to work to free the angel that turned out to be the statue of David – the world’s most famous statue.

They saw marble.

He saw an angel.

What does God see when he sees you?

Here are three scriptures that answer that yet all sound a little untrue until you get into the very heart of God.

Firstly, Song of Songs 4:7 says ‘All beautiful you are, my darling, there is no flaw in you.’ REALLY?

Is the lover who represents God saying that in faith? Is he saying that ‘through the cross’? Neither. He’s saying it in love. Love sees beauty. It sees beyond the fracture. It sees angel. Love isn’t blind. It’s focussed.

It’s the same when you see a new born baby. It’s usually not that beautiful. Yet it is beautiful. Not because of its potential. Because it just is. It’s the eyes of love.

We need to work on that – a lot! When we come to God, the first thing we think He sees is our sin so we spend all our time until the bus comes in a long repentance session. Yet the Lord’s prayer never begins with ‘I’m sorry Lord’. It begins with Fatherhood. WE need to get rid of the razor blades of religion and marvel at a God who refuses to see marble.

He see’s Angel because that’s love.

Fracture comes later but, now, it’s time for love.

Real love poured out from Heaven.



Secondly, Ecclesiastes 3:11 says ‘He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time’. Really? Everything?

How can a disaster be a beautiful disaster?

How can death even be beautiful?

The answer can possibly be found in autumn. Leaves are falling, dying and thinning. As a season within itself, it’s a season of sadness. Yet when seen as part of all four seasons, it’s the only season that makes space for the next. And that’s beautiful. If God restores bigger, stronger and wider than before something was broken injured or lost, only then can it be seen as ‘beautiful’.

OK, here’s some declarations for you –

  • There’s nothing in your past that God can’t turn around for good. Nothing – no heartache, heart break or heart attack.
  • There’s nothing so far gone that God can’t redeem and restore beyond anything that’s ever been.

He calls it ‘beautiful’ because He knows He can do the impossible. He can turn deserts into parklands. Bones into armies.

Diamonds from dust

Jewels from junk.

Palace from prison.

Destruction might be at work, yet – God is at work too. All things are working not against you but ‘for good’ if you stay loving God. (romans 8:28)

In fact  – the cross of Jesus is beautiful. YET the cross was an instrument of torture and death – like an electric chair or noose.

Because of the love of God that placed Christ on the cross to deal with the darkened fracture of sin within our lives, it has become a beautiful.

Love sees angel. But He doesn’t just ignore marble.

Love sees fracture.

Love forgives. Love pays the price. Love calls. Love beckons. And that is BEAUTIFUL!



The last REALLY! That God sees when he sees us is the process of change that you’re going through. You’re being transformed – reinvented – renewed.

Isaiah 61: 3 says that he gives ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.’


In a world of snapshots, everyone’s got one of who you used to be, who they’d like you to be and who they assume you are. Yet God sees who you are becoming.

You’re not the same as you were yesterday.

You’re different.

There’s a divine exchange – replacement – change. It’s happening. Slowly at times, but then just as the earth’s plates suddenly move causing the earthquake, sometimes we suddenly come into a new level of freedom and authority. It’s a beautiful quake. A becoming. A change for the better.

You are beautiful.

Your history is beautiful.

The cross is beautiful

You’re becoming beautiful.

And because of that, we’ll find it easier to love God in return because all of us love God ‘BECAUSE He first loved us’!

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  1. Thank you Pastor Dave – very inspiring words. I hope God sees the diamond in me when everyone sees pebble.Some ‘images’ of us can be harsh due to the ‘bad light’ in the eye of the person taking them. may God inspire you with more of these

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