I love working outside in the flower gardens. Every spring I am always amazed to see the tender shoots breaking through the soil once again. If we’re paying attention, the cycles in nature teach us so much. Do you think this is exactly what God had in mind?
Nature reveals who God is.
He has made the earth capable of replenishing after catastrophic events – wildfires, floods, ice storms, fierce winds, and even oil spills. It speaks of God’s redeeming ability. Pain can be likened to such things. With time, even the deepest sorrow can be replenished.
It doesn’t mean life will be the same. It does mean life will go on. The main trunk of my oak sapling died last summer. I was worried since it’s my favorite tree and I had planted it, nurtured it, and protected it. But then I discovered, all around it were small, new shoots. And this spring, they are thriving.
What is it that you have planted, nurtured, and protected? A relationship? Your body? Your job? Only to be discouraged, frustrated, or hurt because of the outcome? Hold on to hope and never give up. Remember, nature teaches us about God’s care. How much more are you important to God?
There is joy and comfort in finding the pleasures and treasures along the way that are given by a good God who cares that you are hurting.
Memories ebb and flow, washing upon the shore of our mind. Sometimes the tide comes in uninvited, carrying debris with it. If we allow the debris to lodge in our minds, we can become laden down with self-pity, discouragement, and depression.
The tide will go out. And with it, the debris.
But look! There are some surprising treasures that the tide brought with it. If you look carefully, you will find them.
Pain does not have to drown us. God knows we do not have the strength to tread water for long. He brings reprieve in the form of little joys that will make us smile in the midst of even deep sorrow.
The first clear notes of a cheerful robin, chasing away the bitter winds of winter.
The surprise visit of a summer breeze, bringing relief on a hot summer day.
The palette of warm, autumn colors painted on a dreary, gray canvas.
The gentle falling snowflakes quieting a troubled heart.
Especially in the American culture – our first response is disbelief. How can this happen to me? Why did this happen to me?
If the Son of God endured pain and suffering, is it really unimaginable that we should suffer?
Yet, in the suffering there are wonderful treasures to be discovered. Even the natural realm reveals the benefits of the processes and pressures involved. The crushing of olives for olive oil, the friction of sand to make a pearl, and the heat required to purify gold.
We don’t look for suffering as if it will make us better people. We accept it when it comes. This is not a defeatist mentality. It is faith when we walk through it with courage and strength, allowing God to do what he says he will do.