Beauty from ashes

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I shared at church this morning a hymn story/testimony of faith…

In the winter of 1876, after attending an evangelistic meeting in Chicago, teacher, evangelist and soloist Philip Bliss was traveling with his wife back to family in Pennsylvania. As their train was crossing over a river the bridge gave way and the train fell into the freezing waters below. Bliss managed to escape but as he realized his wife had been left behind in the burning wreckage, he went back in to the fire in an attempt to save her. Tragically the young couple did not survive.

Among Bliss’s belongings recovered from the wreckage were the lyrics to the hymn “I Will Sing of My Redeemer.”

I think about this horrific accident and the lives that were lost. And yet despite this loss, there was great beauty that came from it. God has used the words of this hymn to minister to many people throughout the years.

Beauty from ashes.

I can relate to this as God has transformed the “train wrecks” of my life and has created beauty from the ashes. After over 9 years of infertility God blessed me and my husband with our two miracle children. Angel adopted at 7 weeks old, and then Caleb born 12 months later, exactly a year to the day of when Angel was legally available for us to adopt her.

Beauty from ashes.

Probably most beautiful though is the work of God in our lives when we are so undeserving. For a number of years I rejected His will for my life. I walked away from my family, friends, and most tragically my faith.  Even in my sin – God was faithful. He was faithful to forgive and through His grace turned my ungodly choices into restoration and healing.

Beauty from ashes. 

Just like the words of this hymn, pulled from the burning wreckage. Wherever you are in your life right now, whatever “train wreck” you are facing, God is there. He demonstrated His great love for us and even in our sin, Christ died for us. He wants to take your pain. He wants to take your sin and shame. The road probably won’t be easy, but He will turn it in to beauty when you release it to Him. And it’s because of His great love that we can sing.

{I Will Sing of My Redeemer}

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