We all remember where we were that day when we got the news. Every year we still relive it. And each year it’s just as true as it was the year prior.
Ashes. It’s all that was left of skyscrapers on that fateful day. If you were anywhere within the vicinity of the Twin Towers when the planes flew into them, you can still see the explosion, hear the terror of screams, see people jumping from windows high above, and the pile of ashes when it all came down. You can still feel that sense of, “This can’t be happening!” The images that played out on our TV screens are burned upon all of our memories. So are the stories of the people who were there experiencing that surreal day in our country’s history.
Ashes. They represent ‘something that was.’ Something that mattered, yet was destroyed through the heat of a burning fire. At the time of it’s destruction, often disillusionment and grief quickly follow. The many thoughts of ‘what could have been’ or ‘what should have been’ flood our minds. And we face the dreams that were just lost among those ashes.
Once the fire is gone and the ashes are all that’s left, often we sift through the remains hoping to find any buried treasure from the past that may have survived. Like the iconic cross from September 11th. It stood as a sign that there was still hope that could be found in God above.
Recently I took a trip with my son, Steffen. It was a trip that had become very familiar to us through the years. Our destination was near a place that had represented hurt and betrayal not too many years prior. The circumstances our family found ourselves in during that season was one that brought disillusion and discouragement to each of us. The fire that tried our family was one which actually attempted to destroy our very faith. Now, years later as we traveled the familiar highway, we started reliving events at various exits along the road.
“That’s where we met you on the road headed up for the interview.”
“This exit has a Baskin Robbins.”
“This is the exit we met up with friends.”
As we relived those fun memories, we laughed at dad’s constant hunt for an exit where he could get ice cream. We smiled with memories of times with the friends we had made on our journey. With each mile we drove, I felt God bringing healing in those small areas I did not even know still existed. By the time we arrived at our destination, we had realized how rich our lives had become due to that season of testing.
At the end of that highway, we also reconnected with people who had walked that journey with us. Having lunch with friends that day, I listened to things that God was doing in their lives. I saw the joy on faces as we reconnected with each other, shared stories and pictures of families, and just enjoyed being together again.
Driving back home after the weekend, I reflected on our time with friends. I felt healed and so full. That still small voice spoke to me. “You found My jewels among the ashes. The fire was intense during that season, but it produced jewels that are left pure and resilient – shining brightly with My Love.”
What about you? Has your journey left ashes all around you? I encourage you to go back and see what remains. The jewels you find might surprise you. For the Master Craftsman always enjoys making beauty out of the ashes of our lives.