The Lord has not promised us a life without pain or struggle, trouble or tragedy. But he has promsied his faithfulness in the midst of it all. He has promised to bring us “beauty” out of the “ashes” of our circumstances.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV)
I thought of this passage as I read a letter this week from the AWANA missionary that our church supports. Bill Fugel wrote about one of the 19 firefighters killed in June in the Granite Mountain fire in Colorado. One of those firefighters, Dustin DeFord, was the son of a pastor, Rev. Steve DeFord, and a former member of an AWANA Club. Bill shared a portion of what Dustin’s father wrote in a statement on the Monday after the firefighters were killed:
Many of you may already be aware that the entire Granite Hotshot crew perished in a fire near Prescott, AZ. Our son Dustin was a member of that crew. Our hearts are filled with sorrow, but not without hope. About a week ago Dustin had a rather unusual opportunity to share the Gospel with most of the crew for about two hours during some down time. We believe that Dustin was there for this time. In eternity we will get to meet any who may have called on the name of the Lord in those last moments.”
Truly, Dustin DeFord is now wearing a “BEAUTIFUL headress” despite dying in the ashes of a fire. While he was battling a fire that was destroying thousands of acres, he was truly an “oak of RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Let’s live the same way. In whose life has God placed you? In what circumstances? We don’t know what day will be our last on this earth, so let’s be faithful to share the GOOD NEWS of Jesus with others today. Be an “oak of righteousness” today!