In the Old Testament, it is a common custom to sit on ashes or cover one’s body with ashes as a sign of mourning, or, repentance. Grief over the loss of loved ones and consequently covering one’s body (or head) with ashes is a good example. Ashes are symbolic of one’s grief, loss, or suffering.
Some hurts ran deep like nasty cuts that penetrates the bones, and in some cases, the pain is just too raw. But God’s Word gives us hope when we are confronted by pain. Jesus is our Healer. God sent Him to bind the wounds of the broken hearted. (paraphrase Isaiah 61:1) By His wounds, we are healed. (1Pet. 2:24b)
To those who are enslaved by repetitive sin, or addictive habits, the blood of Jesus cleanses and frees the soul from the bondage. (paraphrase Isaiah 61:2) God sent Jesus to proclaim freedom to those who are captives. There are many in the world today who lost loved ones, and still there are those who lost everything. Bankruptcy, war, terminal disease, etc. are the main culprits and many other misfortunes that shakes the foundation of a normal life.
But God’s Word is for those who are mourning, to those who are grief-stricken, to those who lost everything, and to those who are in bondage. To bring comfort and freedom. To bring healing and forgiveness. To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, and praise instead of despair. (Isaiah 61:3) God can make beauty out of ugly things.