Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rainy Days and Waterfalls

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine and her family went down to Nashville, Tennessee on vacation.  The trip itinerary, carefully planned and eagerly anticipated, basically consisted of two main parts; first some time in the city of Nashville, followed by some time in the surrounding mountains doing some hiking and, in particular, visits to some waterfalls.  

During the first half of the trip, it rained and rained.  Due to the yucky weather, many of my friends' city plans had to be adjusted or altogether abandoned.  They enjoyed some nice, unplanned, restful family time, but they also couldn't help feeling pretty bummed out about many of their plans getting rained out.  

But then, in the second half of the trip, the weather cleared up, and something really great happened.  Due to all of the rain, the waterfalls that they visited were all at their fullest and strongest, bursting forth with unusual power and beauty.  As she admired those waterfalls, my friend’s first thought was to thank God for the rain that had caused the them to be so magnificent just then, when her family was there to enjoy them. 

That’ll preach!  Sometimes it rains.  Sometimes a lot.  But it's good to be reminded that even in the rainy times - whether times of storm and chaos, or times of persistent, dreary drizzle -  God is at work, planning and preparing to show His glory and love to us in surprising, powerful, and beautiful ways.  

Let's be patient in the rainy times.  Let's help each other hold on to hope and wait with expectancy for the blessings to come.  Let's live in the now and find the joy and blessings even in the rainy times.  Let's give thanks for and to a God who is working in all things for the benefit of those who love Him.  Let's appreciate the rain because it’s the same water that will in a few days be flowing over the waterfall.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

10.11.12 - Autumn Thoughts

Each year, I marvel at the beauty of all that is bright and/or green slowly turning to red, orange, and gold – and then, inevitably, to dull brown.

It struck me today that this process is actually none other than the slow but steady onset of DEATH and decay, and so in a sense it is really weird that I find so much beauty in it. Doesn’t seem right – except for one thing: I know that Spring is coming.

If I didn’t know that Spring would be coming in a few months, this process of dying would cease to be beautiful and wondrous and instead become sad, depressing, and terrible. But the hope and assurance of Spring coming just around the bend CHANGES EVERYTHING. This knowledge and hope makes it possible for beauty to exist even in the processes of death and decay.

Here’s an alliterative Autumn poem of hope for y’all:

Brown becomes beautiful because Bright beckons, bursting by and by… 

Spiritually speaking, we all live in Autumn and Winter, but praise be to God that those of us who trust and follow Christ can live daily in the hope of Spring.

Enjoy the beauty of Autumn this year, and hear these encouraging words of hope from the Bible:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19a)

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

…we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… (Hebrews 6:18b-19a)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)