I drive by this house every day. When I first saw it, it did not have a second floor. I don’t know what happened—fire, natural disaster, or general wear and tear—but this house used to be one floor with the top half ripped off. Exposed to the elements, this house was open and vulnerable. It was downright ugly and an eye sore. I’m sure its lack of curb appeal bothered the neighbors. It probably attracted all kinds of vermin and unwanted animals. The house next door even put up a “For Sale” sign before construction began on this house. I’m sure the neighborhood wanted to give up on it.
However, this is what the house looks like day. Every day I drove by this house for about two months, I saw more and more men working on it. Installing the frame and steps leading the new second floor. They put up walls, siding and a new roof. They painted the exterior and did the landscaping. Of course, much work took place on the inside, and this is what stands today—a beautiful, move-in ready home completely restored.
“I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint” Habakkuk 2:1 (NRSV).
I always look for God speaking in the common things I witness daily. I believe God used this house to minister to me about beauty for ashes and how God can restore anything in our lives that’s been torn down and destroyed. Oftentimes, life takes us through. It beats us up, strips us and exposes us to the harsh elements. When we go through these times, like Job, people blame and criticize us and cast aside as useless. However, God, the divine architect and healer, can renew and restore that which was lost and broken. He can restore back to us the years that the cankerworm and locusts have eaten. He can and will give us beauty for ashes.
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel” Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NRSV).
Let this house encourage you as it has me. It’s painful now. It looks hopeless. However, God is working on it. Allow God to do His perfect work. You’ll see the beauty that emerges from the ashes.