Beauty from Ashes

Mt. Hood - Timberline

Photo Credit: Justin A. Irving,

We are on our trip to the Pacific Northwest this summer. As I look at the beauty surrounding us, I’m in awe once again of the majesty of God’s creation. We are staying near where I grew up in the foothills of Mt. Hood and there are breathtaking views all around. Here is a glimpse of what I’m enjoying:

MtHood_1          MtHood

As beautiful as this place is, I’m reminded that much of this beauty God created through massive upheaval, disruption, and even eruption.

One of these eruptions happened during my childhood on May 18th, 1980. This was the day Mount St. Helens erupted. I recall much of the community walking around with masks in the aftermath. I remember countless stories told in the days leading up to and the days, weeks, months, and years following. And, I remember particular things, like playing in the fallen ash from the eruption on my elementary school playground.

These memories—being back home, seeing the beauty of this region, remembering the ash of Mount St. Helens—remind me of the work God is up to in our lives. God is in the business of creating beauty from ashes and joy from sorrow.


The gospel is not about bringing our beauty before God. The gospel is about bringing our dead ashes before the One who is able to bring life from our death…beauty from our ashes.

May you rest in the One who is able to make all things new.

Isaiah 61:1-3

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. (ESV)

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