Sooner or later in life we encounter grief, pain, and sorrow when we lose someone we love. But as Christians, God has promised us beauty from ashes as we discover there is hope in loss and joy in suffering. The Scottish poet Thomas Campbell wrote, "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." And this is one way God brings beauty from ashes, by letting our loved ones live on in our hearts after death. Recently, my family had the unique experience of finding joy in our sorrow and loss, and this poem was written through that process.
Beauty from Ashes
Tears like waves come pounding against the shore of my heart—
Strong and fierce, they threaten to sweep me under.
Yet, as the currents wash over me, stillness calms my soul,
And I hear Your gentle voice calling through the crashing thunder.
Day after day, stormy seas batter with their endless fury—
So sudden, so final, the unrelenting, all-consuming grasp of death.
About to drown, I see a glimpse of sunlight through the clouds,
And Your hand reaches me as, once again, I catch my breath.
As the days turn to weeks, then to months, and finally years—
Ceaselessly the waves keep coursing steady to the shore.
Even still, wet and salty, though now dancing with shimmering light,
Reflecting beauty, carrying comfort from memories of before.
I welcome them now, for they are precious, they are sweet—
They bring hope built on love and joy borne from sorrow,
Reminding me who awaits in a future not so very far away,
When the stain of tears will forever cease in our eternal tomorrow.
I'm learning to embrace all You give, even when it's taken away—
Discovering grace in sovereign love, when Your plan deals me pain.
For beauty does come from ashes, and morning dawns from the night,
And in the end life's fullness yet unknown shall unite us once again.
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