“God can bring beauty out of ashes” Isaiah 61:3
I am reading a great book, highly recommend, although it is not for the faint of heart, called “Painting with Ashes” by Michael Adam Beck. He is an ordained pastor in the UMC, Florida Conference. It is about his life, and it is about the lives of many people who overcame difficulties or hardships or broken lives in some form or another. It is about making a beautiful life, making a difference when you are at your lowest point. It is a beautiful book.
Because you see, in sharing his story, and it is quite a life story, it shows us that redemption is for everyone. His story, you see, is the story of someone who has lived a hard life on the streets as a young boy. His story shows everyone that no matter how difficult your circumstances, no matter how bad your choices, God will be there and when you choose to turn to God, God will make a way where there genuinely appears to be no way out.
It is a story of hope for each of us as we wrestle with our own issues, problems, and demons. And I think when we share our stories, we offer hope to the next person who is dealing with something similar or even the same thing and as they see our recovery, our redemption, our reclamation, they see their recovery, redemption and reclamation is possible.
And in whatever we may be going through, God will be there and what we need will be there when we need it…the thing is, we have to accept it…whatever “it” may be. I think that is why I love the story about a man who ends up getting stuck at home during a flood and prays to God to rescue him….
A man comes by in a rowboat and offers to take him to safety and the man in the house says no thank you, God will rescue me. The flood waters rise, and the man finds himself on the roof of his home and he prays again and soon after a search and rescue crew come along and offer to save him, and the man says no thank you God will save me. The flood waters continue to rise, and the man prays “God save me” and in a short while a helicopter flies over and drops down a ladder for him to climb up, but the man waves them off and says, no thank you God will save me. The waters rise higher, and the man drowns. When the man gets to heaven and sees God he asks: Why didn’t you save me? God replies, I sent a rowboat, a search and rescue team, and a helicopter…what more could I do, I came three times and you refused to be rescued!
We have to accept the help that comes our way. It may come in many forms. For some, as it was for Michael Beck, it came in the form of Angels in green suits with handcuffs. I guess the question we should all be asking ourselves is this: what help have I refused because it didn’t come in the package I wanted it to arrive in?
Because here is the thing: We all need some help. We are all trying in some way to recover from two years of Covid-19 ravaging our world! And we are not done yet. And of course, there are many other issues we have had to deal with in addition to Covid! So, it is not IF we have to deal with trauma…but what form of trauma we will need to deal with. How are we working through our own issues, problems, demons?
So, my prayer for each of you is that in whatever form God sends help into your life for whatever it is you need help, may you accept the help offered from whomever God sends.