Read Isaiah 61:1-6

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me … To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.—Isaiah 61:1,3 (KIV)

As our bus traveled down the highway on a recent trip to Alaska, we passed a large stretch of land with rows of burned trees. Growing directly in front of these black, scorched trees were several clumps of beautiful light pink flowers. I noted the same flowers when we hiked up a mountain trail in the damp wilderness. Later our tour guide explained that the flowers were called fireweeds and that they usually grow in places where something catastrophic has occurred, like a fire or even a moving glacier.

In a similar manner, God has a way of responding in areas of our lives where we’ve experienced disaster. Just like the prophet Isaiah says, God can provide beauty in places that once were ashes and cause joy in times of mourning. And as God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, God is with us through the fires we face. As we face struggles of every kind, our human limitations may prevent us from seeing through to the other side where beauty may await us. But God sees it all, is with us through it all, and is able to comfort all who mourn.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for delivering us from our trials. Amen.

Thought for the day: God can bring beauty from the bleakest situation.

—Laverne Williams, Georgia