Beauty for Ashes

Don't you love happy endings? Do you believe in a happy ending for yourself? I am sure that Job never thought the day would come … perhaps you are in a similar situation. I have seen many of my trials turn into blessings. I am reminded of the messianic prophecy that tells us that the Messiah will "comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve". He will "bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair". It says "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor".

In the months following my wife Ellen's death God spoke to me often. One day as I was praying God said to me "I am sending you a Ruth". You know I really can't describe the emotions that went through my mind … a kind of disbelief that anything so wonderful could happen to me … Ruth was the epitome of a woman.

Well, later that year, God brought Ann into my life. In many ways she was nothing like what I expected in a woman but in every way she was a Ruth. Our courtship was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I experienced levels of joy that had escaped me for so long … Ann made me feel so young and alive. I had such little understanding of how much of a blessing she would be to me. We were married in the following year. For the last ten years I can say, with Job, that the Lord has blessed the latter part of my life … with a wife that is a servant in the best sense of serving … a woman who's inner beauty and integrity are matchless … and a sister who loves God.

You know it was funny how Ann and I met all over again. We had been acquainted for almost 20 years but had not seen each other for about five years. One day we, by chance, ran into each other in front of The Dime Store in Kansas City where she was shopping and I was just happening by. I wrote this poem at the onset of our courtship.

Love at Second Sight

What drew me to her I do not know.
Spirit? Soul? Flesh? A mystery to me still.
On that day I saw her again ... for the very first time.
Could this be love ... at second sight?

That day was bright ... my heart was dark.
Her skin was fair ... my soul was heavy.
A spark ignited and my spirit soared.
Could this be love ... at second sight?

The summer passed and fall had come.
My mind wandered still to that that day in June,
When my heart was touched by her lovely smile.
Could this be love ... at second sight?

As grief passed and courage grew,
I saw her again and then I knew ...
That my heart longed to know her heart.
Could this be love ... at second sight?

Mourning exchanged for joy.
Loneliness turned into happiness.
Feelings I can neither explain nor express.
Could this be love ... at second sight?

Time goes on and passion grows.
Where we'll go ... who really knows.
My heart and my mind yet question still ...
Could this be love ... at second sight?

You know when you are experiencing hardship, and wonder if your trial will ever end, it is good to remember Job. How God was faithful to him. How God blessed the latter part of his life more than the first. Do not lose heart. God does care and He has a purpose and a plan for your life. Open your eyes and begin to see your situation with eyes of redemption. Know that He can and He will redeem your darkest times and most difficult situations to give you beauty for ashes.

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