We have had two parsonages where we had wood-burning fireplaces. I love the flames and crackle of burning logs especially in the dead of winter. But cleaning up the ashes, well, a rather thankless and messy job. So I agree with this proverb which says “When making a fire people like to join you, when cleaning the ashes, you are often alone.” African Proverb
Ashes defined after knowing that it is the dark rubbish left after complete burning is over: ruin; something that symbolizes grief, repentance, or humiliation.
I think that it is good for me to recall that mankind was made from the “dust of the ground” and it is just prudent thinking to remember “dust you are and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 2:7 & 3:19) It is humbling to know that we are here on this earth for a very short time indeed – no matter how many years are lived out.
Not only does God know our frame but “He earnestly remembers and imprints on His heart that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)
This is a very good thing because there have been times when my life was nothing but ashes and I thought that I was burned out to the point of hopelessness. But here is the absolute truth: “ The Lord raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap and the dung hill.” (Psalm 113::7) And as if that were not enough Isaiah proclaimed that He (God) will exchange our ashes for beauty. The truth of God stuck Job with such intensity that he had to repent in ‘dust and ashes’ from his position of humble arrogance about who he was and what he thought he deserved.
Alistar Begg says it well when he says “At best we are but clay, animated dust; but viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed. Let it be published in heaven as a miracle that the Lord Jesus should set His heart’s love upon people like us.”
I want the rest of my animated dust days to find me reveling in the love of Christ and reflecting the beauty of my Creator!