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Why Beauty for Ashes?

The reason we have chosen “Beauty for Ashes” as a title for this devotional page is because these are the words God spoke to Dr. Forrest shortly after fire destroyed Haddock Inn. In the book Achieving The Impossible with God, Lorene Moothart writes, “Rev. Forrest started down the hill from Staley Cottage one morning. His steps led him to the pile of ashes that was all that remained of his dreams. He wandered around, poking about with a stick.

“Finally he sat down on a rock under where [his and Evelyn’s] room had been. He noticed a thin line of smoke still rising and poked at the smoldering embers—they were the remains of his books. . . . Up to that time he hadn’t shed a tear; actually he’d been too paralyzed. Now the sight of the ashes of his books unleashed the floodgates . . . . Complete discouragement swept over him.

“It was this moment that God spoke. Clearly His child heard the promise: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified (Isaiah 61:3).

“Thank you, Lord,” Richard breathed, “I don’t know how we’ll do it, but You do.” At some point, each one of us will face heartache and difficulty.

Like Richard and Evelyn Forrest, our hearts will search for hope amid the ashes of our broken dreams. And just as He spoke to Richard Forrest, God will say to us, “I will give you beauty from the ashes and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness so that I might be glorified.” It is our prayer that you will be encouraged through these devotionals taken from the teaching material of Richard and Evelyn Forrest and others.