How God will Give You Beauty for Ashes

The Bible tells us that God will give you beauty for ashes. However, what does that really mean? How can God give us beauty for ashes? Most importantly, how can we apply this promise in our lives today?

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As I stood there, I was awestruck with the beauty of the building in front of me. It was supposed to be the remains of a once grandiose and majestic mansion, but in its devastated state, it still looks impressive.

 

The Ruins Bacolod

My family in front of The Ruins.

 

You see, it was in September 2017 that we visited an ancestral home mansion in Bacolod. It was a mansion built in the early 1900s in memory of the departed wife of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. Maria Braga Lacson, the wife of Mariano, was pregnant of their eleventh child. However, during the pregnancy, Maria had an accident, which led to her tragic death.

 

Don Mariano and his wife

Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson (top left) and his wife, Maria Braga Lacson (top right).

Don Mariano, who was greatly devastated by the loss of his wife, decided to build the Italian-inspired mansion in their 440-hectare plantation in Talisay, Negros Occidental, Philippines.

The mansion stood beautifully for a few years until World War II broke out. To prevent the Japanese from using the great building as their headquarters, Filipino guerillas burned the mansion. Don Mariano’s house was left burning for three days.

While the original intention of the guerillas was to burn it to the ground, the frame and its skeleton didn’t collapse and it stood until this day.

 

The ruins fountain

The fountain of The Ruins

 

The mansion was never been restored to its past glorious splendor. However, it was instead preserved in its ruined state and now has become a tourist attraction.

Today, it is dubbed as the “Taj Mahal of the Philippines,” “Taj Mahal of Negros,” and “Taj Mahal of Talisay.” Most folks would simply call it, “The Ruins.”

Looking back at my experience as we explore The Ruins, I was reminded by a passage in Isaiah written in chapter 61:1-4. It reads:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because Yahweh has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of Yahweh, that He may be glorified.”

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.

This passage is a prophecy of the coming Messiah and what He will do. Yahshua (also known as Jesus Christ) read this passage when He was on the earth and concluded, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).

How God will Give You Beauty for Ashes

Do you know how God will give you beauty for ashes?

Isaiah 61 is truly a beautiful chapter describing the role of Yahshua or Jesus Christ. But in this point, I just want to focus more on verse 3 where it says, Christ will give us, “beauty for ashes.”

What an astounding way to put into words what God through His Son will accomplish for us. He will surely give us beauty for ashes.

The Ruins has undergone a catastrophic tragedy that all that was left was its skeletal structure. Yet, it remains to look beautiful and stunning. In effect, God has given the people of Negros “beauty for ashes.”

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The phrase beauty for ashes is interesting. It is actually a Hebrew play of word that is difficult to exactly translate to our language.

The Hebrew word for beauty here refers to a fancy headdress, tiara, ornament, or turban. In the ancient culture, pouring ashes on their heads is a practice that symbolizes mourning and sorrow.

When the Messiah comes, he will not just remove the ashes on our head, but He will replace it with a beautiful headdress. He will not just remove our sorrow, but He will replace it with joy.

As what the rest of Isaiah chapter 61 mentioned, He will not only give beauty for ashes, but also healing to the brokenhearted, liberty to the captives, opening of the prison for those who are bound, comfort and oil of joy for mourning, and garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!

What a great exchange would that be!

 

Interior of The Ruins

Interior of The Ruins. The place was beautifully maintained. The roof was added to make the place friendlier to visitors.

 

Your ashes today may not simply just mourning. Your ashes may include health problems, loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, frustrations, and disappointments. All you need to do is wait for Yahweh and He will surely give you beauty for your ashes.

Now, here’s something we need to understand. You need to surrender your ashes to the true God. Most of the time, God can’t give you beauty for your ashes if you continue on holding onto them. God says that He will replace your ashes for beauty and thus, you need to give it up.

Don Mariano, the owner of The Ruins, in his grief due to the death of his wife, might have not really let go of his mourning. Instead of giving it to God, he built a mansion dedicated to his wife as a way to express his grief.

Now, I’m not saying this with 100% certainty. This is just my guess and I could be wrong, but it is a possibility. Whether he did or not, I’m sure that he would have handled better his bereavement by letting it go and letting God handle it for him. By doing so, he is trading his ashes for beauty.

The Ruins might still be in is damaged state, but Isaiah 61 gives us hope for everything that has been destroyed:

And they shall REBUILD the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations (verse 4).

God will not only rebuild things, but He will restore the original beauty and the Edenic paradise that was once here on earth.

So, what are the ashes in your life? Whatever it is, stop holding into them. Don’t let it destroy your life any further and make you bitter.

Give your ashes to God. Come to His Throne of Grace in prayer. By doing so, you will see how Yahweh will give beauty for your ashes, comfort for your mourning, and restoration for the things you have lost.

P.S.: Have you been to The Ruins in Negros or you’re planning to go there? Do you have ashes in your life that you want to give to God? Let’s start a conversation below. Looking forward to hearing from you!


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7 thoughts on “How God will Give You Beauty for Ashes

  1. Fascinating history! God is in our every details of our life. I enjoy your stories and how you take your daily life and provide Biblical application for everyday living.

    Like

  2. After reading your blog in ‘Beauty for Ashes’ I am more than willing to let go and let God. Please pray for me. All I see is ruins but I believe God for restoration.

    Like

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