Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Beauty from ashes

Yesterday I beheld a miracle. Five pounds and some-odd ounces of precious baby girl, straight from the hands of God.

About a year ago, her sweet young mother delivered her sister, full term yet stillborn. I cannot imagine her pain as she endured labor with full knowledge of the grief that would follow.

But yesterday, there was joy. And some measure of relief. And a far greater measure of gratitude for this gift, this miracle, this grace.

I think of Naomi who suffered the deaths of her husband and two grown sons. In the opening scenes of the book of Ruth in the Bible, Naomi is empty and bitter and resentful of the sovereign hand of God allowing such tragic circumstances:

"...the Almight has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and The Lord has brought me home again empty...the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me..."

I'm sure my friend understands Naomi's despair. Perhaps we haven't suffered to the degree that Naomi did, but certainly we've all encountered circumstances prompting us to wonder where God was and why He seemed unwilling to act. We, like Naomi, are tempted to question His goodness and doubt His faithfulness and resent His sovereignty. Yet, by the end of her story, we see Naomi's bitterness turned to joy as the book of Ruth closes with a picture of Naomi holding the fullness of God's faithfulness in her lap.

A baby. A grandson. A redeemer.

She could not see the faithful hand of God working it all out for her good and His glory. She could not imagine that He had purpose even in her grief. Her bitterness blinded her, trapping her in despair and doubt.

Despite her assertions to the contrary, God had not left her alone. Through the commitment of Ruth and the self sacrifice of Boaz, He showed Himself the faithful, Almighty God who is able to accomplish His good, acceptable and perfect will...for Naomi...for my sweet young friend...for me...for praise of His glory!

Fullness from emptiness. Joy out of sorrow. Beauty from ashes.

This is the grace and goodness of our sovereign God.


  1. Lisa,

    This ministered to me! I have felt the same bitterness and resentfulness having lost three precious babies. But as I watched the birth video of my darling little daughter (now 6) who came after that bitter and resentful season, I saw again the joy and the redemption and, definitely the beauty from ashes that I experienced that day! It is the one true miracle I can say I've personally been a part of in my lifetime.

    His timing is always perfect!


  2. I do not always understand His ways, but am confident of His goodness and sovereignty. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

  3. How precious....and she is so tiny - a tiny miracle...thank you for this today...


  4. If it wasn't so obnoxious, I'd figure out a way to write AMEN in a huge, bright pink, shouting-out-loud kind of font.

    In triplicate.

  5. Amen. I find comfort in surrendering difficult circumstances, pain and sorrow into the hands of a loving God...recognizing that I must remember what I know and not always look to how I feel.

  6. What a beautiful post. And what a reminder to trust His ways, even when it is hard to see more than our pain.

  7. Beautiful! Praise the Lord!!! We have a dear friend who lost her full term baby...SO HARD. And I long for that day for her when (trusting), like this, the Lord provides a baby, breathing, full of life! Thanks for sharing this miracle!

  8. Beautiful. Praise to our Loving and Beautiful Giver of life. Who is like our God?


  9. Amen and amen and amen.

    A thousand times ten thousand.

    Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

  10. Congratulations to the new mom and the whole family!

  11. Lisa, this post moved me to tears. What a wonderful God we have who works even in pain to show us Himself. He is so good. Thank you for sharing this.

  12. I loved this and I love the story of Naomi. When we named our 2nd daughter Naomi, I knew her name was special, but I don't know just how the grace of God will play out in her life. I can't wait to find out. Praise God for his little miracles (and big ones too).

  13. I've missed reading your beautiful insightful posts. Congratulations and great joy to your young friend.

    Bless her and her new little one!

  14. This is sucha wonderful post! On one too many ocassions, I've alllowed myself to drown in the pit of despair and bitterness, doubting God's Hand at work in my life.

    When things seem to have stalled and/or has gone awry, that is when I believe God calls us to demonstrate the most faith. It's hard, but thankfully He walks before us in all matters.

  15. Thank you, Lisa. I hope you never give up blogging because I'd miss you!

    I miss my little Jenna terribly but on the flip side there is so much joy in knowing our precious Jesus' sweet presence and mercy, which is written all over our situation.