Beauty for Ashes

You see the above placard for the Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA and might be thinking to yourself, “Gorgeous. Very cool. Shiny!”

No doubt, it is a fantastic college-citied music venue that is both intimate and legendary.

It has hosted celebrated acts like R.E.M., The Police, B.B. King, and DMB.

When I was in college, I frequented the Georgia Theatre many times to enjoy good music.

But two years ago, something tragic happened: a fire gutted the storied Athens landmark. You can read about it here.

If you have spent any time in Athens and/or with the University, you were affected. I was affected.

Unsure if it would ever reopen it’s doors, it was as if part of my youth was taken away from me. Okay, slightly dramatic, but still true.

On the flip side, I was able to witness the incredible happen: after two years of rebuilding, the Theatre was restored and came back to life. Beauty for ashes.

Similarly, we experience this story first hand with Christ. In our case, we deserve ashes yet receive beauty.

By ourselves, we are ruined. With God, we are redeemed.

It may not take a fire in our own lives, but rather a simple acknowledgement.

Recognizing the restoration process is initiated by God and fully-satisfied through Christ is what’s important.

::

How has God reminded you that you are redeemed lately?

39 Comments

  • bill (cycleguy)

    November 29, 2011

    Went back and read the story of the fire Dustin. I hate reading stories like that. Did they ever find the cause? Saddest part is what you have already mentioned. People whose lives are wasted and burnt out but never finding the restoration God offers. I am reminded every day I look in the mirror (no comment please) that I have been redeemed. Thanks for a “look back” post that also made a good point.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Think they ruled out arson – so it might have been just a random happenstance. Sad. Thanks for your comment, Bill – I appreciate your wisdom.

      Reply
  • Ryan Tate

    November 29, 2011

    “By ourselves, we are ruined. With God, we are redeemed.” – Amen!

    This is not just a great reminder but a powerful declaration! We are redeemed – the more we talk about it and think about it, the more it becomes a reality, grows, and manifests itself in our lives. God wants us to live redeemed and be redeemed and to work in his redemptive kingdom. Beauty for ashes.

    I’ve been reminded of this through my community and especially through my wife lately. Thanks Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Live redeemed – well said. Thanks, Ryan.

      Reply
  • Loren Pinilis

    November 29, 2011

    I sometimes like to think about all the ways and all the things that God redeems. Not only can he bring us out of the ashes, but he can actually use the fire damage to bring him glory.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Good thoughts, Loren- that’s a really powerful insight.

      Reply
  • Moe

    November 29, 2011

    I think the reason why Georgia theatre was rebuilt was because it was worth rebuilding. There was value that the owners, city, or whoever, found in it. Not too different from our God. He finds value even in this clay model. I’m not going to argue with that. In fact, I’m just playing along. After all, he paid a handsome ransom for me… and you… and those who are saved.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Worth rebuilding, indeed. Love your comment, Moe – we are worth redeeming!

      Reply
  • Adam

    November 29, 2011

    Great post Dustin. I think for me and going through the process of adopting it really reinforces what Christ and my relationship with him means. He took me..someone who was cast out and left as unwanted and loved me and gave me a name…which is “son”.

    And when I am going to meet my new son tonight after work I am reminded that this and so much more is what Christ did for me.

    Thanks so much for this post that we are not longer ashes….

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Wow… how exciting – how did your “meet” go? When you think about adoption, and even our adoption into God’s family, it’s humbling.

      Reply
  • Jason

    November 29, 2011

    “By ourselves, we are ruined. With God, we are redeemed.”

    Amen.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Thanks for stopping by Jason.

      Reply
  • Sonny Lemmons

    November 29, 2011

    As someone who was also affected by this fire…I feel/felt your pain about that, but also joy about the “rebirth” of the theatre.

    In my life, I think one o my biggest hangups is that I see the ashes I am/that I am in, and I think there is no value or worth in them, whereas God sees them as a beautiful starting point. What i might have just written off as an ending, God transposes into a beginning.

    Great post – way to make me start to think on a cold Tuesday afternoon when I’d rather be hibernating. :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Kinda like a phoenix, right? :)

      Reply
  • Rob Shepherd

    November 29, 2011

    How was that show? I LOVE Needtobreathe. Did you see them on the Late Show?

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Show was great. Show #2 for us… and #3 in February. :)

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    November 29, 2011

    I am reminded every time I sit down with a student and am able to help them with a situation in life because I went through something similar. I am blown away each and every time.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      That’s awesome, Jason – what you do is important!

      Reply
  • Jon

    November 29, 2011

    Beautiful post man. I don’t know if this is weird, but I think being an uncle has allowed me to see that. Just to see my little niece, and know that God brought her into the world..it’s a beautiful thing. God gives us life, and I am so glad that He constantly pursues us.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Wow, congrats – I must have missed that (i’m sure you posted about it on Twitter)… but congrats – seeing a little one come into this world is amazing.

      Reply
  • Jay Cookingham (@strategicdad)

    November 29, 2011

    “By ourselves, we are ruined. With God, we are redeemed.”

    That is a wonderful,precious truth right there bro’…thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      You’re welcome, Jay – thanks for coming by!

      Reply
  • TMZ

    November 29, 2011

    Remember when this happened while I was a student at UGA. I didn’t grow up in Athens or ever go there, but I know it devastated plenty who did. Had no idea they had rebuilt it until I heard a friend was going to that NEEDTOBREATHE concert. So cool to see something so cherished in Athens come back to life again. Such a grand metaphor for the work God does on a daily basis.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Thanks for the comment Thomas – yeah, even if you didn’t visit when in Athens, you still know of the Georgia Theatre. :)

      Reply
  • Keri

    November 29, 2011

    Unfortunately, I often let it get to the fire part before I recognize my need for redemption in certain areas.

    This post reminds me of the Gungor song “Beautiful Things”. A great reminder, Dustin. He does indeed make beauty from ashes. And, every time He does I’m completely blown away at how awesome it is.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      “you make beautiful things out of the dust”

      Reply
  • Adam

    November 30, 2011

    Have been through some troubling times lately that I hope to share on the blog in the coming months. In the end though, even in the worst patches and days, I can see God working in it. “yea tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me”

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Thanks for pre-sharing, Adam – will be looking forward to hearing how God has been working in your story.

      Reply
  • chris vonada

    November 30, 2011

    so many times we think good times / bad times … this Beauty For Ashes story reminds me to be thankful ALL the time! Thank you Dustin!!

    Reply
  • Jim F

    November 30, 2011

    I am reminded always that God can rebuild any life – have worked in the counseling field for years before Pastoring – I have seen God do amazing work of people finding beauty from their pain or ashes. That is one of those things that only God can do.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      “Only God can do” – no doubt!

      Reply
  • Arny

    November 30, 2011

    “Recognizing the restoration process is initiated by God and fully-satisfied through Christ is what’s important.”

    I am the Clay and he is the POTTER!…

    We are his Jars of Clay being molded..and perfected…from ashes to beauty!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Well said – thanks for commenting, Arny!

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    November 30, 2011

    God’s grace in providing me a new place of service has reminded me that He is still in control.

    Reply
  • kristinherdy

    November 30, 2011

    I had a bad week. I felt like I had nothing to give. I had nothing, period. No money, my job is on hiatus for 2 weeks. I get 1 more paycheck and then no more until Feb 1. I hit rock bottom and then fell through that bottom.

    This morning, I got a Scripture in my inbox. God paid a huge price for me. He called me. He redeemed me. He is not just able, not just willing, but desiring to reclaim my circumstances and make my trials my testimony.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      November 30, 2011

      Funny how that happens from time to time. Thanks for sharing part of your story Kristin – like Matt said right before you, grateful that He is in control.

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    December 9, 2011

    What a great analogy. I’m glad the theatre was restored. My college dorm was demolished and it made me a little sad because of all the memories I made there.

    Reply

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