Midnight. A familiar sense of dread and darkness hangs over your head. This is nothing new though–it's the same darkness you've felt for years. You've tried everything you could to get well, but nothing worked. Sound familiar? This is my story, but it's likely yours as well.
Panic and anxiety start to wage war inside your head until it feels like you're all alone. Depression and grief grip you until your strength is nearly gone. It all feels like a dark, hopeless fog. There's a weight to the shadows, and it often has the power to pull you down further than you thought you would go. It feels like there's nowhere to escape. You need a savior.
Then the light pierces through the darkness. When you thought all hope was gone, a kind, gentle voice reminds you that hope has only just begun. The dark, relentless night somehow relents, and the fog begins to dissipate. Standing next to you, radiating with light, is Jesus. His arms are wide open. Nail scars are still visible on His hands. His love for you is unmatched and unrivaled. In fact, He loved you even through the darkness. He was with you the whole time, even though you barely noticed He was there.
Next, He does something you didn't expect–the ashes of all your broken dreams and dark nights start to turn into a beautiful mosaic. He begins to piece together your heartache and turns it into artwork. The sharp glass of the mosaic still hurts. You scrape yourself a few more times than you wish to count. But standing back, with light pouring in and illuminating the piece of artwork before you, you realize it all makes sense.
The broken glass still hurts, but somehow the beautiful creation that your creator has made makes the pain worth it. You have scars on your hands and memories that can't be erased, but for the first time in a long time, you have hope.
If the creator of the universe could make a masterpiece out of your brokenness, there's nothing He can't do. If He loves you more than you can fathom, maybe you can begin to love others, too. Perhaps for the first time in a long time, you can begin to trust. You can begin to love. You can begin again.
Jesus is making mosaics of our brokenness. He's turning ashes into beauty. That's what we're going to be talking about today.
Jon Foreman, "You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are"
This analogy of Jesus turning our ashes into beauty is one that I love to use because I've seen it happen in my own life. In fact, I've seen it happen many times. In my articles for NewReleaseToday, I've been open about my journey through anxiety. It was a dark time in my life, and I've shared my story a few times. But one thing that we often fail to discuss is what happens next. Writers and authors share their testimonies of how Jesus brought them out of darkness, but I don't often hear about what comes next. Do their ashes get turned into beauty? Does any good come from the pain? In my case, the answer has repeatedly been yes.
Even when I was in the middle of my struggle with anxiety, I had a feeling that one day this pain would somehow be used for good. I was trusting that God would put together a mosaic, and one day I would step back and see how all of the broken pieces would come together and make sense.
Although not everything about my journey makes sense, I've come to understand that I had to face anxiety for a reason. And the beauty that has come from these ashes has been incredible. Because of what I've been through, I've been able to tell countless other people that they're not alone. I've been able to help my friends through the darkness they've faced. I've seen how Jesus has planted gardens from all this rain.
One of my favorite songs is "You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are" by singer/songwriter Jon Foreman. There's a line in the song that says, "Future gardens from all this rain/Future flowers from present pain." It's a beautiful reminder that no matter how dark it gets and how hard the rain falls, there will always be beauty yet to come.
You may be facing some dark days right now, but there's a light that shines brighter than the darkness. Gardens and masterpieces will be made from your present heartache. Keep holding on.
"Future gardens from all this rain/Future flowers from present pain.../And all the ashes of all these dreams/I've seen the beauty of fallen leaves/And someday, maybe, we'll find out what it means/And you'll find out how beautiful you are."
Elevation Worship, "Do It Again"
We can talk all day about how God will create beauty from ashes, but in reality, it can be so challenging to actually believe that. Hard days will come when it's difficult to see how any good will come from what you're going through. That's why we have to look to the past to see how God will show up for us again in the future.
Chances are, you've already seen God use some of your hard days for something beautiful. Look back at the past few years, and think about how He's shown up in your life. Did you lose a family member and were able to help a friend who was grieving? Did you go through a difficult season of anxiety that led to a beautiful season of growth? Think back on those moments because that's how we can remember God's faithfulness.
I wrote about God's faithfulness in one of my previous articles, and in it, I referenced Psalm 77:11 (NIV). The verse is worth repeating again: "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago." Before we can look ahead and have hope for the future, we need to look back and remember the goodness of God and the miracles that He's done.
Around the time I accepted Christ, I heard a sermon by pastor/author Louie Giglio, and he talked about a song called "Do It Again" by the worship group Elevation Worship. I listened to it, and the song became a reminder to me that God has never failed and He's going to keep moving mountains like He always does. The chorus says, "Your promise still stands/Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness/I'm still in Your hands/This is my confidence/You've never failed me yet."
God will always remain faithful. He's never failed, and He never will. He will always turn ashes into beauty--He's done it before, and I know He's going to do it again. And again, and again.
"I've seen You move, You move the mountains/And I believe I'll see You do it again/You made a way, where there was no way/And I believe I'll see You do it again."
Brandon Lake, "Don't You Give Up On Me"
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is still so much more. When God blesses you and turns your story around for good, don't think for a moment that that's it. There is still so much more beauty to come. Jesus is only getting started.
Recently worship artist Brandon Lake released a song called "Don't You Give Up On Me." The minute I heard it, I knew it would be a song I would continually be coming back to. The song was written from the viewpoint of how God sees us, and the lyrics are like God singing His promises over us. One of my favorite lines in the song is, "When the night's at its darkest/That's when the light hits the hardest.../You ain't seen what I've promised/Child, we're just getting started."
Nights are still going to come that feel cloudy and dark. But there is still a light that penetrates the darkness. No matter how bleak the night may get, dawn always comes. And with it comes healing and redemption. With Jesus, your ashes will always get turned into beauty. There is still so much more to come and so many more mosaics to be made from your brokenness.
As we talked about earlier, God isn't going to stop bringing light and beauty into your life. He's going to do it again. You have yet to see all that God has promised--He's only getting started. The bridge in "Don't You Give Up On Me" says, "Don't lose your hope, don't lose your faith/That's where your fight is/I've got more dreams/I've got more plans/I've got more blessings/There is so much more."
Keep going. Keep moving forward. More blessings are in store for you. Psalm 126:5 (NIV) says, "Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy." I believe that those songs of joy are closer than you think. As long as we're on this earth we're going to face pain and sorrow. But believe me, there is so much more to come.
There will be future flowers from your present pain. Future mosaics from your present heartache. More blessings are in store for you. Don't give up on Jesus because He isn't giving up on you.
"Open your heart/Open your hands/Open your eyelids/I got more dreams/I got more plans/I got more blessings."
Grace Chaves has been a fan of all things Christian music since 2016. She is NRT's news editor, and one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace is an author, loves Jesus, concerts, and road trips.
NRT Books Launching
First title, Mixtape Theology, releasing October 2
What The Bleep
We explore the continuing trend of Christian artists including language...
NEW!BEHIND THE SONG
#1176 - Jason Gray
Exploring the message of belonging and transformation
Christian Music in 1993
NRT's J.J. Francesco reflects on the Christian music industry in 1993
Christian Music's Women
Women working to further the kingdom of God through their music
NEW!NRT BOOKS EXCERPT
You Might Be A 90s Christian