Isaiah 61:3

Beauty for Ashes

"To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness they will be like great oaks that the lord has planted for his own glory." (NLT)

Okay, there are no ashes in this picture, but please allow me to substitute the sharp spines of the cactus since they can represent the pain suffered by those who have mourned in ashes.  Ashes do indicate that there was a painful situation that caused them to mourn, and the sharp spines of a cactus can cause pain, as I can attest.

For this pain, for these sharp spines, God gives the great beauty of flowers.  He doesn't just give beauty; He calls it a "crown of beauty."  We get that, too, a crown of beauty, joyous blessing, and festive praise in place of the previous pain we suffered.  Have you ever come through a difficult time and had God provide great beauty afterwards?  Perhaps you are currently going through a difficult time and have not yet seen the crown of beauty.  It may be really difficult at this time to foresee that crown of beauty.  All I can say is, trust God, He loves you, He has not forsaken you, and He will deliver beauty in the end as He promises in Isaiah 61:3