Hope often seems too risky and vulnerable when we’re surrounded by such profound brokenness and loss. Dare we hope for something better when death is all around?But the resurrection of Christ gives us hope and reminds us God is still able to give us a crown of beauty for ashes.

We don’t have to look far to realize there’s much not as it should be in this world. Everywhere we turn there’s illnesses and death, hatred and murder, contempt and many deep divisions.

And in our collective growing despair and desperation, we tend to grasp for whatever bits of pleasure and life we can get.

We demand our entertainers, politicians, friends and family to come through for us. And our bitterness and resentment only grows stronger when they inevitably let us down.

And we continue down our negative spiral without a hope that allows us to set great expectations.

Christ is our only true hope. He died, was buried, and was raised from the dead by the power of God. And we too now get to live new lives in him.

But to follow Jesus means we must also take the path of the cross. New life comes after death. And this is disruptive. Dying means something must come to end before new life is able to emerge.

And this is true throughout our life and relationships.

For instance, sometimes our old marriage has to die in order to experience a new dawn in our life together. And our approach to work and social relationships might also have to be turned upside down to receive the beauty God has for us here.

But in Christ, ashes are no longer a point of despair, whatever they might look like.

Hope remains. Though we must surrender to the power of God that still raises the dead.

Live in hope even through these dark days. God remains faithful. And there is great beauty on the other side of your ashes.

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