Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Beauty in the Ashes

I was struck on how beautiful the sunsets were when forest fires were burning on Mt. Charleston.  The sun shone through and infused its light through the smoke.  The stark contrast between the dark smoke and the bright sunshine brought out subtle colors in both. 

While it is true that the fire burned 25,000 acres and destroyed six buildings, apparently forest fires have benefits too.  According to “How Stuff Works” websites, “Forest fires are a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. Even healthy forests contain dead trees and decaying plant matter; when a fire turns them to ashes, nutrients return to the soil instead of remaining captive in old vegetation.”  Like the beauty of the sun piercing through the smoke, the benefits of the fires break through from the destruction.

God’s love is like that.  There are events in our lives that seem destructive.  Maybe you are living in the dark days where God’s love does not seem to reach you.  The darkness that surrounds you seems to have no end and the fire of stress seems to be wreaking havoc in your life.

But it is the darkness of life that helps to set against the beauty of God’s love.  When focused on, it can light the air around you, bringing out the subtle beauty and depth of life.  What seems like destruction can remove what we think of as important so we can cultivate what is really important.

There is no doubt that this cancer has wreaked destruction in my life and on my body.  I carry the scars with me every day.  My chest looks like they took a big chunk with an ice cream scoop which essentially they did.  I’m not the wife, the mother, the teacher I would like to be whether that is because of exhaustion or side effects of chemo.

But if I focus on what God has taught me, on his love and provision, it colors all that with a subtle brightness that pierces the darkness. The darkness provides a depth to my life that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Every day I am learning to focus on what is important—that my husband, my kids, know that I love them, that I continue to spread the message of praising God through all of my circumstances.  

In this life there will be fire, destruction, death.  But in the ashes there is beauty.  It doesn’t happen on its own. Only God has the power to pierce the darkness with His light, to clear the death and decay to produce life.  Only God has that power.  Will you let him work His glory?

2 Corinthians 1:8-9

New International Version (NIV)

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

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