What does the quote “a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” mean?


From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: A friend of mine gave me a book that has the poetry from the Bible. I love the phrase “a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” but I’m not sure what it means. As I watch what is going on in the Middle East and Israel, I pray that beauty will somehow come out of the ashes of destruction we see on television daily. It’s a reminder of the importance of praying for the peace of Jerusalem. – P.L.

A: When the Prophet Isaiah wrote the picturesque words about beauty from ashes, he was likely thinking first of Jerusalem, the once-proud city that had been shattered and burned at the hand of a brutal enemy.

No matter what our past has been, Christ stands ready to forgive and cleanse us — and then to make us new. “Therefore,” the Bible says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things has passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).

Only Christ can bring hope to lives that have been turned into ashes by the assaults of our enemy, Satan. And He doesn’t just restore us to what we once were; He gives us “a crown of beauty” — the beauty of forgiveness and the beauty of hope and joy and peace. There are many people who are experiencing the ashes of a shattered life. We can pray for them and ask God to use us to point them to Christ and the great hope that the Bible gives us through its wisdom, poetry, hope, strength, and salvation that comes only from Him.


“He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning” (Isaiah 61:3, NLT).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

©2024 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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