Beauty for Ashes

Back in 2011, my wife and I took a week-long trip to Canada looking specifically for “Shatter Cones”. Shatter cones are conical fractures in the rock, which are undeniable evidence of an impact, along with a crater caused by the event of a meteorite or comet.

They can be anywhere from a quarter of an inch to sixteen and a half feet around, meaning that the original rock had broken on impact, leaving a similar appearance to that of a vehicle’s windshield after being struck. They were formed when the shock wave from a meteorite or the impact of a comet traveled down through the existing rock, changing the grain of the rock and cracking it into cone-shaped chunks, with the pointed ends aimed towards the center.

The particular crater that we were searching near, the third largest to have been found on earth has a basin length of 39 miles and a width of 19 miles and thought has it that at the time of impact it may have been 9.3 miles deep, formed by a comet eighty-one miles in diameter smashing into the earth during the Paleoproterozoic era, thousands of years ago (or billions, if you believe science), and we were only working a small section of the area.

Can you imagine the devastation to the earth this would have caused, thousands of acres of timber being destroyed instantly by smashing pressure, upheaval, and fire, weeks or months of darkness caused by smoke and debris floating in the air, the land being shaken by the impact, stripped clean of standing timber and topsoil, and all wildlife dead?

You would think that the earth would never recover, but it did and continues to. The forest has regrown, ground cover exists where once none remained and a river flows down through the rim. The area is quite beautiful.

Where I’m going with this is that throughout our lives there can be and will be periods when we will experience devastation such as Canada did, devastation we could never have imagined possible. To the degree we feel that recovery is impossible. But we have a God who is there with us during those times relieving the pain and misery that we have felt and are living with or have lived through, making a way for us to reach the ultimate beauty that only He can make of our devastation.

Speaking from experience, I have been there I have felt the pain and heartaches right along with many of you that are associated with the devastating events that this life can offer us, but I have also felt the comfort and peace that only God could have provided, and I’m here to tell you we can and will survive with God at our side. Tears will dry, breathing will return to normal, the weight pressing down will dissipate, the sun will shine, and you will hear the birds singing once again, as you return to living once again. God will take the worst that this life can offer and make it beautiful if we let him.

Isaiah 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, for I have overcome the world.”


Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Greetings from M L. Sutton, a born-again Christian and retired citizen of the Great Lakes State of Michigan, currently living in the Northern Michigan town of Cheboygan. A father of two wonderful adult children who also live in Cheboygan, and a husband of forty-three years, before losing my wife to a health-related illness in May 2020.  I began writing in a journal in April 2020, with the words and feelings that I had wished to express to my wife but could not because of pandemic guidelines and her illness. After her demise, I continued to write to vent the hurt, confusion, frustration, and sorrow associated with her absence in my life, culminating with the release of my first book, “To Lose a Soul Mate,” which was published by Xulon Press, and released to the public on September 25, 2022. In losing my wife, God had given me a gift, one that I could share with others, the gift of writing what my heart felt and my eyes saw, as though looking through the windows of my heart. This new gift allowed me the opportunity to see through the pain and grief of losing my wife and to recognize the beauty that had always been around me, but I had not taken the time to fully enjoy, or be thankful for it. I now write for enjoyment, as it gives me a sense of peace and comfort, sharing my material as a Featured Contributor on, BIZCATALYST 360°, The Writers Café, and Dirt Road Storytelling, both on Facebook, while also working on a second book, a collection of writings from both heart and soul; which I plan to have published at a later date.  Before that, I was enjoying retirement with my wife, after having worked for nearly 31 years for the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, as a Park Manager in various parks throughout the state of Michigan. 

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