Sunday, November 24, 2013

Out Of The Ashes

We sang a great song in church today which contained the lyric "out of the ashes we rise".  There is something intriguing about fire.  As the weather is turning colder, I imagine many will turn to the warmth of a fireplace or a campfire for comfort. Yet, when something burns, it leaves very little remnant of its former self.  A log placed on the fire, when consumed completely, is no longer recognizable.  All that remains is some charred dust, or ashes if you may.  The fire causes total and absolute destruction.  It is no wonder that ashes are a symbol of repentance and humility...there is nothing illustrious about ashes.

I guess that is what captured my attention when we sang a song about rising from the ashes.  There are times in our lives that we are totally devastated.  Sickness, financial ruin, shattered relationships, to name a few, cause us to hit rock bottom.  Just like the ashes from a fire, the remnants from these horrific situations are ugly, dirty and filthy, nothing with which to be proud.

Yet, a remarkable thing sometimes happens on occasion.  Just like the mythological bird, the phoenix, somehow something arises from the ashes.  A new entity, a vibrant creature of some sort evolves.  The ugly ashes become a glorious creation.

I am so grateful God caused me to rise from the ashes of cancer.  Although there are still challenges ahead, the ugliness of the fire pit in some ways has been transformed into some true beauty.  As a matter of fact, some of the joy I feel today is because of the devastation of my previous self.  I can't help but remember how things used to be, e.g. multiple hospitalizations, chemotherapy, blood transfusions and desperation.  That was then.  This is now.

So, out of the ashes we rise.  We most certainly do, if we allow God to devastate us and bring forth a new creation.

You can read more about my devastation and ultimate victory in my book, "A Place I Didn't Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer", which is available on Amazon and Kindle at the following link:


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